July 22,2007 16th Sunday of Year C

Scripture: Luke 10:29-42
The Good Samaritan parable says: prayer only (the priest) is not enough, love of neighbor is also necessary. Today's Martha and Mary scene is a parable in action. It says: love of neighbor only (Martha) is not enough, prayer is also necessary. These 2 readings go together for balance.
In John 11:5 we read:" Jesus loved Martha, her sister (Mary) and Lazarus" They were his friends. He really loved them. As a friend Jesus gently tells Martha:"Martha! Martha! You are too busy doing things" (Martha's name twice intimates the friendship).
I personally like Martha - she is so like me! I too can get too busy doing things! So Jesus' gentle admonition is for me too.
We get so busy in Japan! Precisely because that is the atmosphere of the society we live in we need to stop and like Mary of today's Gospel, sit at the feet of Jesus and listen; that is, we need to spend time in quiet prayer. Do not in this case, say prayers already prepared nor do not even ask for blessings, just sit and taste the love and friendship of Jesus.
He is God who says:"I call you by name. I call you my friend" That love and friendship is the very foundation of prayer.
So this week please spend 3 minutes each day in quiet prayer. Personally I light a candle in my room as preparation; then sit and relax (especially loosen a tight jaw); I imagine Jesus saying my own name, I taste and enjoy His friendship and am grateful that Jesus accepts me as I am. (i.e.some days I have a quiet heart, some times it is in turmoil).
I like to imagine Martha putting aside her kitchen knife and pots, calling Lazarus, and all 3 sit and listen quietly to Jesus. And Martha finds she can do the cooking so much better!

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