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Balance in all things

 

We all know people who seem to be busy and active all the time. We also know those who have the habit of letting others do all the work. Neither extreme is good for us. We can’t be busy all the time, and neither can we sit back and let others do all the work.

What is called for is balance; being active and engaged, and taking time to rest and renew ourselves. Jesus himself knew and appreciated this. He didn’t spend all his time with the crowds of people teaching and healing them. He often took time to be by himself so he could pray. In Mark’s Gospel, we read that Jesus got up early, left the house and went to a lonely place where he could pray. Jesus realised the importance of taking time off, and away from all activity, so he could renew his relationship with God, and be refreshed for his own daily life of activity and ministry. In today’s Gospel, we are given the two complementary sides of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We have Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to him as he spoke. We are also presented with Martha, who prepared and served the food. Neither one is better than the other. Both ways of experiencing and encountering Jesus are needed, and part of our own daily lives. There are times when we are busy with the daily routines and activities that occupy our days. This is normal and healthy. These are the times when we can look to Martha as a role model. Serving others is how we put our faith and love into action. However, there are times when we are called to be silent, so that we can hear what Jesus is saying to us. Mary in the Gospel, is an example of this listening attitude. In scripture, we are encouraged to be still and know God. If we are always busy and active, we are not allowing ourselves time to maintain our friendship with God. On the other hand, we are also called to live in the ordinary world of house work, and daily activities. Through our prayer and relationship with Jesus, we can bring a deep quality of service and ministry, not only to our own lives, but the lives of those we serve and care for. Perhaps two questions that are offered to us from this Gospel are – Do I take time to rest and pray? What is the quality of my service and care of others?

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