Listening At the Feet of Jesus

Luke 10:38-42
Jon 3:1-10 / Psa 130:1-4,7-8

…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.
(Luke 10:42)

How much time do I spare for the Lord?
What do I value as my treasure?
It is by listening to His Word
That my spirit finds its good pleasure.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)


It confounds us at first why Jesus didn’t advise Mary to help Martha, who was burdened with preparing dinner all by herself for Jesus and His companions. After all, women during that time were not supposed to concern themselves with lessons from the Torah or the teachings of rabbis. Their place was in the kitchen, preparing dinner or refreshments for the guests. But our Lord had a more important lesson to impart to Martha and her other guests, as well as to future generations of His followers. “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.” What Jesus was saying is this: we are so distracted about so many unimportant things in life (which we wrongly believe are more important) that we miss out on the things that really matter. What could be more important than the salvation of our soul? Remember, at that time Jesus had very little time left, so eating a meal was hardly more important than feeding His disciples’ souls with the wisdom of His words. Remember that in another occasion, when His mother and brothers came to see Him, He told the crowd, “My mother and brothers are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.” (Lk.8:21)

“Only one thing is needed,” and that is to develop our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ by “listening” to His Word. Like Mary, we need to stop for a while from all the temporal things that we have been so concerned about, and step back to assess our life. We need to ask ourselves some important questions that impact our relationship with the ONE Whom we may have been neglecting for some time due to the selfish pursuits of a vacuous life. Where am I now? What do I plan to do with the rest of my life? How are my relationships with my spouse, my children, my in-laws, my co-workers, and the members of my church or community? How am I doing in my relationship with God, my Creator?

These are the kind of questions that we usually ask ourselves when we take time out for a recollection or retreat. On one such occasion last weekend (National Leaders Retreat), our retreat master and spiritual director inspired us to listen to the Word of God, and to understand how it positively affects our relationships in our family and in our community. In that short period we came to realize how much we need God in every moment of our life, and yet how little of our time we give to Him, much to our spiritual loss. We all need to periodically take time out from our businesses or professions to commune with our God and His wonderful creation. I believe we owe it to ourselves as much as to our souls.

Father God, forgive us whenever we’re too busy to take time out to listen to Your Word. Many times we are so engrossed with “important” matters that we find it difficult to just sit still in Your presence. Forgive us for giving more importance to our own agenda rather than Yours. Grant us the grace to listen with a humble heart and an attentive mind to what You are teaching us everyday. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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