Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the feast of one of the more renowned saints as she was mentioned in several occasions in the Gospels. St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus and featured prominently during the time when the Lord visited her household and also when Lazarus died and was resurrected by the Lord. They were considered as the close friends and disciples of the Lord.

St. Martha was remembered most for the moment when the Lord came to visit her house, and she was very busy preparing everything to serve the Lord and to show Him the best hospitality that she could offer. However, in doing so, she had in fact forgotten that she spent most of her time being busy in preparing all the hospitality and service rather than attending to the Lord and listening to Him, as Mary her sister had done.

Initially St. Martha was angry and unhappy that her sister had left her to do all the preparations, and she even told the Lord of her issues and asked Him to tell her sister to help her in her work and preparation. But the Lord kindly reminded St. Martha and told her that she had not done what she should have done, and that in fact her sister had chosen the right course of action. In her preoccupation with preparing for the Lord’s coming, St. Martha had been distracted and forgot that first and foremost, she had to be there for the Lord.

Instead, she allowed herself to be sucked into the procedures and details, into the things that she thought would impress the Lord as a good hostess and friend, not realising that she had spent the precious time she should have spent with the Lord away from Him, in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house. That is also why the Lord reminded her that her sister Mary had done the right thing, by doing what mattered the most, that is to be with the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our own lives, we are perhaps often like St. Martha, in how we have lived our lives. We may have been so busy with our lives and been so preoccupied with the many things and concerns we have in life that all of us have often forgotten about God and put Him aside for those other concerns and things we desire in life. We are often too busy to even notice how He has always cared for us and provided for us, even when we have been wayward and delinquent with our lives so far.

St. Martha reminded us all that even sometimes we can be busy and preoccupied to a fault, being particular and detailed to a fault but we forget the most important aspect of life itself and that is to focus ourselves and our attention on God. It is very easy otherwise for us to lose our focus and be distracted as St. Martha herself has experienced. But now that we know and have been reminded of this, it is then up to us how we want to proceed forward in life from now on.

Are we able and willing to detach ourselves from the attachment to our busy life schedules, especially to our work and profession, as well as our attachments to other pursuits in life? It is not that we cannot have job or be busy, but rather, we need to ask ourselves, what is truly, our priority in life? There are people who genuinely work hard because they need to earn to support their families and loved ones, but many among us seek for many unhealthy pursuits and addictions in life.

Instead of being tempted and swayed by the pursuits of power, glory, material wealth and fame, pleasures of the body and mind, among many others, all of which are distractions and are in fact leading us away from God, let us rather redirect our lives and our emphasis and focus, that like Mary, the sister of St. Martha, we find the true treasure and focus of our lives, that is God, knowing that in Him alone we can find true happiness, joy and satisfaction.

There are many things we desire in life, and we certainly know it. And we also know how all these desires cannot be fully satisfied one, as when we have what we want, we have the tendency to crave and desire even more, and that is why we fall into the trap of our routines, our busy activities and being distracted in life, and forget about God. Let us all therefore rediscover our love for God, and reorientate our lives once again towards Him from now on.

May the Lord help us in our journey and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, that we may find our true focus in God, and that we may seek for what we will never lose, that is the love of God and to focus ourselves on Him, rather than on the mundane and repetitive schedules and preoccupations in life, to focus on God’s love rather than on our own desires, our own greed and wants, our own pursuits for the fleeting and temporary pleasures of the world. May the Lord bless us all and may St. Martha intercede for us sinners always. Amen.

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