SPENDING TIME WITH OUR LORD
In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear about the arrival of Our Lord and His disciples at the house of the sisters Martha and Mary in Bethany. Our Lord was very well received by them but Martha was distracted with much serving, and became very preoccupied with the small details. Mary, on the other hand, sat down at Our Lord’s feet and listened to Him speak. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was leaving all the work to her causing Our Lord to give Martha a gentle rebuke. “Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things…It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.” So Our Lord is telling Martha He would be much happier with her if she too spent the time with Him rather than running all over the house! This could be translated into Our Lord will be much happier with us if we spend time in prayer with Him each day as well as doing good, rather than being someone who spends the whole day running around and not spending any time in prayer at all. In fact He describes Mary as not only doing the better part, but as doing the one thing necessary. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Our Lord insists on the primacy of prayer: “Pray always” (Lk.21:36).
Last Monday we celebrated the Feast of St Benedict, the Founder of the Benedictines whose motto is “ora et labora”, “prayer and work.” Priority should be given to time spent in prayer and we will probably find we work better after having done so. We might find it difficult to spend a long period in prayer, but it is not so difficult to raise our minds to God countless times a day for a minute or two. If we make an effort to spend time with Jesus in prayer, we grow in grace and holiness and we will be much better off afterwards. Time spent in prayer is always worth the effort!
Fr Paul Gillham