Choosing the “Better Part”
SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Prayer of the Day: Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ, and you make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our lives, make us attentive to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord
“Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42.
This text has often been used to elevate the “contemplative” life over the “active” life. A lot of sermons portray Martha as the one with the “to do” list and a dozen irons in the fire. She has little patience with people who want to “stop and smell the roses” or pray when there are toilets to be cleaned, rugs to be vacuumed and a meal to prepare. Mary, by contrast, understands that work is not an end in itself. Priority must be given to reading, marking, learning and digesting the Word of God. Only then does one’s path to action become clear. Martha would probably reply that this is all well and good in theory, but the roast is in the oven now and it’s not going to wait patiently for you to arrive at perfect inner clarity before burning to a crisp. What follows in such a sermon is a reflection on achieving the proper balance between care for the soul and responsible action.
I think, however, that all of this misses the point. Read more