October 6, 2020 – Tuesday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100620.cfm)
Are you feeling overwhelming pressures from all sides these days? Pressure from work, pressure in your family caused by conflicts or demanding responsibilities, pressure caused by financial difficulties, pressure from your personal and trouble-filled romantic relationship could pile up until you feel suffocating. Students, perhaps, because of the new mode of learning, though are already familiar with latest technology, but still struggling these days due to the demands in their online classes and at home while suffering from emotional pain. These are just few examples that we are feeling these days considering also how we adjust ourselves with this pandemic around us.
With all of these, we also desire and hope for ways to better handle and manage these pressures that make us worry and troubled emotionally and spiritually. We desire peaceful nights where we can sleep free from worries. We long for a mind and a heart that though we continue to live in the midst of troubles and worries in life, but we could maintain a balanced way of life.
With the extra challenge of Covid-19 pandemic, the more we long for this today. Thus, it would be very good to find better ways and healthy ways of handling and managing the different pressures and worries we have in life for our mental and spiritual health. Our Gospel today suggests something that we could learn and adopt and develop into a habit. What the Gospel teaches us is a good way indeed, of maintaining balance and healthy awareness of oneself and of God’s presence in us.
This Gospel story tells us of Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus and good friends of Jesus. Let us see a bit deeper the different responses of Martha and Mary as they welcomed Jesus into their home.
It was Martha who welcomed Jesus into her home. Being friends of the Lord, it was Martha’s delight to welcome and receive Jesus. Martha being a concerned woman wanted to make the Lord and the disciples comfortable. Her concern and generosity made her busy with many things in the house. She must have been very busy cooking, providing food and drinks and serving the Lord. Yet, in her effort to do all of these, she grew worried and pressured. She must have done that out of generosity. Though she was not duty bound, but felt responsible. Yet, along the way, Martha must have lost her focus on the Lord. She was dominated by the pressures of serving the men and providing their comfort. She must have felt tired.
This was the reason why Martha sounded annoyed, troubled and restless. She became more concerned in “doing” that in the process she lost and forgot that “one important thing – Jesus.” With this, Martha lost her peace of mind and had lost the opportunity of spending quality time with Jesus who have come to visit them.
Well, Martha just did what was natural in their culture, and that was to express her hospitality to Jesus. However, when we let the different pressures around us to dominate our mind and heart and attitude, then, we too, like Martha will lose the opportunity of enjoying the presence and the company of people who love us.
Indeed, as Jesus identified Martha’s problem, “of being worried and troubled about many things,” he also emphasized the value of taking the opportunity of enjoying the comfort of the presence of those who love us. This was what Mary did. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to the words of the Lord. Mary set aside those troubles and worries first in order to make more time with the Lord. Mary did this because she knew that what the Lord requires her to do was not to do many things, but just to “waste time” with God at that moment.
Mary’s response made her more aware of Jesus’ presence and thus of her need of God. It was Jesus who visited them. This means that it was God who initiated the visit. Jesus came to visit them. Jesus wanted their company and desired that his friends will spend more time with him. Certainly, Mary found peace even in the midst of the worries and troubles in life.
There are three invitations that I would like you to remember today so that like Mary, we too shall find peace even though worries and troubles, difficulties and challenges remain. What surrounds us is beyond our control but what we can do is to change our attitude and response to what surround us. So, remember these.
1. Be aware of God’s visits. God visits us to surprise us any day and in any time of the day. God’s presence could be revealed through a friend, an encounter with a stranger or an event. We are called to be always welcoming of God’s presence and be filled with God’s peace through others.
2. Develop a habit to spend time alone with God. To be able to spend few minutes alone will allow us to gather our thoughts, to subside our strong feelings and emotional reactions, and to see things clearly. Having this time allows us also to become discerning in our actions and thoughts for us to respond to a particular situation in a mature and healthy way and according to God’s desire for us.
3. Spend quality time with people whom you love and who love you. To do this, we also need to be more aware of what is happening in us and around us. By recognizing what troubles us and what makes us worry, allows us to be more open to our loved ones. Thus, by spending quality time with them, we become more assured of their presence and find comfort in their love for us. This was the experience of Mary. She indeed found assurance in God’s love and comfort in God’s presence, thus, she found peace. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR