The Blessing of Balance

(August 1 2022)

The Blessing of Balance

Mary and Martha of Bethany are two familiar characters in sacred scripture. They are the sisters of Lazarus who Jesus rose from the dead. Being sisters, like my own sisters and my granddaughters, they would have shared many characteristics. They grew up in the same house, same town, same upbringing. But even at a young age, differences can be seen. One is the leader, the one in charge. The other is quieter and more reserved. One is the type that wants to get things done, while the other appears to let things wait on the back burner.

Often these personalities find themselves in conflict. Martha is the one running the house. She finds out that Jesus is in town and is coming to her house. He came to visit everyone in the house, including Martha. Jesus brought many of his disciples with him. Water and wine and bread and food would need to be made ready.

Mary would have helped, perhaps by cleaning up, sweeping the floor, drawing cool water for the visitors to wash their hot feet. But when Jesus arrives, Mary stops what she is doing, and sits to listen to Jesus. This was almost unheard of for a woman to sit with the men, especially a teacher like Jesus.

Martha complains to Jesus about her sister and tells Jesus to make her come and help. Jesus realizes how important hospitality is to Martha. Even though it is important Jesus says that being still and listening is also important. I think this small encounter had a great effect on Martha. Focusing only on the work part is not good. Time in prayer and listening to God is even more important.

As one serving the poor, we often go overboard on service. We neglect ourselves in nurturing our bodies, eating right, resting, fresh air and exercise. We also need to refresh ourselves spiritually. You see, proper service must come from a heart overflowing from the love of Jesus. It is not to be done because of a sense of obligation or duty.

Jesus feeds us with his word, his grace, in the Eucharist. He feeds us in the relationships we have with others. By being before the Lord in a quiet place, regularly, we can see if our lives are balanced. Nature shows us what balance is about. If there is too much rain, we have flooding. If there is not enough sun in the summer, the fruit trees and grape vines will not grow. There is sunlight so that the birds can find their food. There is night time for the birds to rest.

Summer months are a great time to reset the balance, reset the scales. Taking time to just sit and listen to what God is saying to you about all aspects of your life is needed now more than ever. Am I spending too much time at work? Is my time with the family being fruitful? As we grow older, our role in the family changes from doer to advisor. To advise properly, we first need to listen. Maybe we need to restart doing things that we did before. Maybe we need to put away activities that are no longer fruitful. Both Martha and Mary can teach us what is important in life.

Take time to replenish ourselves so that we may serve the Lord where we are called. Ask God for the blessing of balance.

Deacon John Girolami

Spirituality Corner

Monthly Reflections
by Deacon John Girolami,
Spiritual Advisor, ONRC