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of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda

Father Tony Stubeda

                                                                   “Martha, Martha”
It is sometimes difficult to figure out what is important. Our lives are filled with demands on our time. Our jobs, our spouses, children and friends all need our attention. With e-mail, cell phones, tweets, texts and voice mail, the demands of the many parts of our lives constantly press us for attention. We need to decide how and when we are going to meet all the demands and still maintain our sanity. We make decisions about what we will do now, what we will do later and what we hope will go away if we ignore it. We struggle to get things done when they are needed and to give everyone and everything the attention they need or want from us.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of a conflict between siblings. With guests in the house, Martha is busy caring for them. In the midst of the myriad of details she is dealing with, she notices that her sister is not helping. Her anger flares, and she complains. She points out that while she is busy doing what needs to be done, her sister, Mary, is seated at Jesus feet doing absolutely nothing. She sits in conversation with the Lord, and leaves the demands of the household to her sister. Martha is expecting Jesus to see the load she is carrying and to order her sister to help.

Jesus gives this surprising answer. “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.” The story ends there, and we hear no more of what happens. We can only imagine what Martha might be thinking and what she does next.

The question this Gospel presents to us is, “what are we choosing to make important in our lives?” With the many demands pressing in on us, are we placing the conversation we carry on with God at the center of our lives? Do we give God the time he and we need to maintain our friendship and love? It is a simple thing to let the urgent demands of our families, work and friends eat up our time, and to postpone or cancel the time we need for prayer. We can begin to treat our relationship with God as something we do in our free time or when no one or nothing else is demanding our attention. Little by little, we set aside prayer until we realize that he has become a casual acquaintance or a tenuous presence in our lives. Jesus’ response to Martha speaks directly to our hearts. We are anxious and worried about many things, but if we remember that we need but one thing, a strong and nourishing relationship with God, other things will fall more quickly into place, and assume their real and proper proportion in our lives.