Gn 18:1-10 / Col 1:24-28 / Lk 10:38-42
A battle ship was out at sea participating in naval maneuvers, when an ensign raced to the bridge, waving a piece of paper. “Captain,” he said breathlessly, “there’s a message for you from the admiral!”
“Well, read it!” growled the captain.
Reluctantly, the ensign began to read: “Of all the blundering, bone-headed nincompoops, you take the cake!”
The bumbling captain looked confused for a moment and then gave the order, “Have that decoded at once.”
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He didn’t get the message. And that’s what Sunday’s Gospel is about: Not getting Jesus’ message. Poor Martha was slaving away in the kitchen, doing her best to cook for her guests, and she wasn’t getting any help. So she complained bitterly to Jesus. And Jesus knew her complaint was fair.
But he knew something much more important about Martha: That she was always upset about something. She had a good heart. She wanted to do the right thing; and she worked hard at it. But there was no peace in her, no joy — just the loneliness of fretting about the past, the present, and the future — with no prospect of relief.
Like so many of us, Martha wasn’t getting Jesus’ message that living a good life isn’t about being perfect and doing everything just right. It’s about getting better and loving one another into getting better. It’s about owning up to our mistakes, doing our best to fix them, and then letting go of them. And it’s about helping others do the same.
Living a good life like that can’t be done alone. It only happens if we’re walking with the Lord. And walking with him means listening to him, letting him guide us, letting him show us what’s important and what’s not, and being quiet with him so he can remind us who we are and how loved we are.
There is something of Martha in all of us, something of that harried soul who’s carrying too many burdens — past, present, and future — all alone; something of that sad person who longs for peace but rarely finds it. It’s time to say a firm “good-bye” to that “Martha” part of us, and we can do that with a simple prayer, if it comes from deep in the heart:
Lord, I’m tired of walking alone and carrying all this junk around. I want to walk with you and be free. I’m going to start right now by giving you everything that’s burdening me, and then being very quiet so you can help me sort it out, and finish what needs to be finished, and let it go — piece by piece.
Lord, I want to walk with you into freedom!