What Is That One Thing?

Sunday, July 17, 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Readings: GN 18: 1-10A; PS15:2-5; COL 1:24-28; LK 10:38-42

On the 16th Sunday in Ordinary time, the Gospel reading is from Saint Luke, where we receive a reminder about the proper use of the gift of time, a fundamental aspect of the Christian way of life. Our passage highlights one of the most famous dinner parties ever thrown, recalling the day that Martha and Mary hosted our Lord in their home. We are told that Martha, as a dutiful disciple of Jesus Christ, welcomed Him in but then became “burdened with much serving” while her sister Mary and fellow hostess chose to simply sit at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him speak.

Martha became indignant at Mary’s behavior and complained to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” But Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, refused to get pulled into this sisterly spat. Instead, He offers Martha a fresh way to look at the situation. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing.”

What is that one thing?  It is to put Jesus first in our lives and above all other things; to “sit at his feet” and listen as Mary had done, giving Him the priority of our time no matter how busy we think we are. When we truly commit to putting Christ first in our daily lives through a regular time of prayer and frequent participation in the sacraments, we will find that all our other concerns become less pressing, less overwhelming.

Why is this so? Because the time we invest in our relationship with God saturates all aspects of our lives with His grace. And because God cannot be outdone in generosity. He will abundantly reward any sacrifice we make to spend time with Him.