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Listen! Listen!

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better part and she shall not be deprived of it
Luke 10:38-42

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Sermon Week Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 10:42

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There is an Old English prayer that goes like this:

Take time to work--
It is the price of success.
Take time to think--
It is the source of power.
Take time to play--
It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read--
It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to be friendly--
It is the road to happiness.
Take time to dream--
It is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to love and be loved--
It is the privilege of the gods.
Take time to look around--
It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to laugh--
It is the music of the soul.

Most of us would agree that there is a time for all those things. There's a time to work and a time to play and a time to think and a time to dream and a time to laugh, and all the rest. But having just heard the story of Jesus visit to the home of Martha and Mary, I submit that the author of that Old English Prayer really missed the boat. He left out the most important activity of all. Jesus refers to it in today's Gospel episode as "the better part."

St. Luke tells us that "Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and listened to His words" (Lk.l0:38-39). Meanwhile, Martha had given her full attention to "all the details of hospitality." Here is the picture, then: Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet, intent on hearing everything this very special Guest had to say; Martha was busy fussing and fixing and straightening and preparing and, consequently, heard nothing Jesus was saying. And Martha left no doubt about her opinion on whether her activity or Mary's should have taken first priority. She took her case to Jesus, saying, "Lord, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the household tasks all alone? Tell her to help me (Lk.10:40). And it must [...]

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