July 21, 2019: ​Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Ann O’Connor, Notre Dame Associate

Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.

The Gospel this Sunday, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is the familiar story of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. In the reading, we hear that Martha was busy with the details of hospitality, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha came to Jesus and said: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” In reply, Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

This passage is relevant to many of us in today’s world. We often find ourselves with so many competing responsibilities and activities that we sometimes lose sight of what really is important in our lives. We, like Martha, become anxious and worried about things that do not bring us closer to God. Mary had recognized, at that moment, the important thing was to sit with Jesus. Martha, concerned about hospitality, had allowed that concern to become dominant, and as a result she missed the opportunity to be with Jesus.

Does this same thing happen to us in our lives? Do we, at times, become so focused on worldly things that we neglect to be conscious of God in our lives? Or do we fail to attend to our spiritual life? I believe the challenge for us in this hectic world is to be aware of God’s presence in our lives and, like Mary, pay attention.