Listening to Jesus
Our gospel reading for this Sunday is about Mary and Martha. Mary listened with delight to the sweet wisdom coming from the words of Jesus, the Word who took flesh (Lk 10:39), while Martha was more attentive to hospitality toward Jesus. We need to stress that Jesus does not condemn the hospitality displayed by Martha. Instead, Jesus draws our attention to the more important act of listening to his words rather than getting anxious or worried over the cares of the body and temporal affairs. Jesus’ remonstration of Martha is not a case of raising the act of contemplative listening to the Word of life and putting down an active life of hospitality. Instead, Jesus instructs us to do both. We heard in our Gospel on the Good Samaritan last week that Jesus cares for service and acts of hospitality. He, however, does not want our preoccupation with the latter to lead to worries and anxiety to the point of ignoring the more critical act, that is, listening with our whole heart to the words of Jesus.
We have the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel ( 2:19). The Bible says that Mary pondered the words of Jesus in her heart. We must find time and place to listen to Jesus speak to our hearts. God wants us to keep his words with a generous heart (Lk 8:15). It is vital to discipleship to spend time with Jesus in silence listening. We should set aside time and place daily to listen to Jesus speak to our hearts. We must cultivate the art of silence to be enriched by this spiritual practice. Scriptures are also of vital importance in attempting to listen to Jesus. We can engage in spiritual exercises of Lectio Divina. We have one planned for the parish in Fall. Be on a watch out for this.
I am writing this message from Lagos, Nigeria. In a few days, I will return home to the United States. I have had one of the best vacations of my life. After being away from my home country, from family and friends for six years, these past three weeks have been refreshing and reassuring about the importance of family and friends in living a healthy life. I am thankful for your prayers and support. But, it is now time to get back to action. But, listening comes first.
Fr. Bernard, OP