Sunday’s Gospel about Martha & Mary really spoke to me and no doubt you can relate too. As women, we are busy! Many of us juggle home, family, work, community & church commitments and friends as well as try to take care of the Temple God blessed us with. It’s hard to find time to just be with God because there’s too much to do! And yet, that’s exactly what Jesus invites each of us to do. To just be with him.
Sunday was no exception for me.
I’ve been active in my parish for most of my adult life, taking on various roles thorughout the last 25+ years. One of those roles includes heading up Facebook Livestream for our Sunday & Wednesday Mass. While I don’t like to ‘do’ the live stream during Mass, largely because I have to pay more attention to the computer & camera than I can to Mass itself, I also know how important it is for those who can’t physically be with us to at least be able to worship with us virtually.
I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who knows how to do a Facebook Live in our church community. At least no one else has stepped up to say they know how & would be happy to take over. Therefore, I’m ‘in charge,’ but have trained several people to actually run the camera & computer during Mass.
The person scheduled to run the live stream was going to be out of town (along with several others) and I was also scheduled to read the 1st Reading. I wouldn’t be able to do both jobs very well, so I was busy running around before mass looking for someone to run the camera.
Relieved, I found someone who agreed to a quick crash-course in running the camera until I could step in after the 1st Reading. Then, at the last minute, one of the other videographers walked in the door. Yay! Problem solved.
Did I mention Father was also seeking someone to livestream a special Mass later this week? Something else to worry about. Thank goodness we found someone for that job before Mass even started.
It all reminded me I needed to reach out to the parents of the young adults who want to learn how to livestream-something that probably would have prevented the busyness before Mass in the 1st place.
Add that all to everything else I was thinking of, which seems to be a lot a this time in my life.
Long story short: Too many things racing through my brain. Not enough time to center & ground myself before Mass started, but I just kept thinking it will all be OK. God will provide-because He always does.
My Mass Mistake
As part of my morning routine, I already read & reflected on the readings, so I felt prepared to share about Abraham’s hospitality to the 3 travelers who were actually angels of the Lord. But little did I know how the words, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious & worried about many things” Jesus spoke in the Gospel would literally manisfest during Mass.
I processed in before Father & after the servers, singing Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee (one of my favorite hymns) holding the Book of Gospels high & placing it on the altar, as is custom, before taking my place in my pew.
As Father closed the Opening Prayer, I made my way to the foot of the altar & bowed reverently as I approached it. If any of you are Catholic, you know after bowing, the lectors (readers) go directly to the ambo (podium) to read. Only the preist or deacon take the Book of Gospels (that same book I placed there minutes beore) from the altar & read the Gospel readinng from it. The lectors read from the lectionary.
You may know where this is going…..
Yep, preoccupied as I was, I proceeded up the stairs to the altar & grabbed the Book of Gospels when Father clears his throat with a loud, “Ahem!”
Now, I’ve been a lector from the time I was 6 years old. I’ve done this hundreds of times. Did I mention, I also train lectors?
Yet, my brain was to busy thinking about everything else. I wasn’t free to be fully present with what I was doing at that very moment.
I placed the Book of Gospels back in its holder on the altar, looked over at Father, swishing my hand up over my shaking head & said, “Too much on my brain this morning.” We both smiled & gave a short chuckle in understanding as I headed over to the ambo.
Taking a deep centering breath and letting go of everything else but the Word I was proclaiming, I began to tell the story of how Abraham & Sarah received the good news they would be blessed with a son in the next year.
When I finished, I reverently bowed at the foot of the altar & returned to my seat per normal. All was well.
Even though I knew it was coming, a few minutes later at the end of the Gospel, I could almost hear Jesus speaking directly to me instead of Martha saying, “Julie, Julie, you are anxious & worried about many things.”
Yes, as a Jill-of-all-trades, I do tend to get caught up about the mechanics of things. I sometimes forget about why I’m doing all those things. And I stumble.
I go on autopilot & forget to purposely place God at the center of all I do. I forget to surrender my worries to him & just be present with him. Replenish in him so I can serve him & others with a full & joyful heart.
I was able to shake off my ‘Mass mistake’ easily. Being so active in our church community, I have a good rapport with our priest, and fellow parishoners. While I like doing things correctly & with reverence to our Lord-especially during Mass, I also humbly admit I am human. I make mistakes.
I need God and his grace. And when I don’t get enough God in my life I start to worry & things tend to go awry.
Worry starts a whole cascade of events that disrupt peace in the body causing muscle tension, digestive woes, hormone imbalances that ultimately lead to dis-ease and keep you from the peace only the Prince of Peace can give.
Freedom from Worry
As our Creator, God designed you need him. Not just for your spiritual health, but because your physical health depends on your spiritual health. It’s why (in my opinion) prayer needs to be your #1 healthy habit. You need to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary and just be.
Yes, there are times we all need to be like Martha. Hustling & bustling around, being God’s hands & feet as we serve him & others.
But you also need to take time to replenish, to just be with God, like Mary. Time to hand over what’s on your heart & mind. Love, praise & thank him. Let his love, peace, joy, courage, strength – whatever you need – wash over you so you can serve with a full & joyful heart.
Finding the Time
So how can you carve time out of your busy day to find freedom from worry in Christ? To be free to just be with the Lord? It doesn’t have to be a big chunk of time. Several tiny moments throughout the day can make a powerful difference.
- Say a quick prayer of thanksgiving before getting out of bed and/or when you lie down at the end of the day
- Take a second to let your body settle into the chair as you say your meal-time prayer
- Take a few seconds before you start your car in the morning to ask for God’s blessing on your work or where ever you’re heading
- Take a moment to notice & smile at others who you encounter today
- Stop those racing thoughts from running through your brain, by jotting those tasks down on a to-do list
- Take a moment to give yourself a hug & picture Jesus holding you
- Take a moment to notice something in God’s creation, smile & thank him for it
- If you’re worried about something you can’t do anything about-say the Serenity Prayer every time it pops into your head
Of course these are just a few of the many things you can do. What else can you think of? What works for you?
Is Jesus speaking to you? Have you been too busy, anxious and worried about many things lately? Being too much like Martha, you’ve forgotten to be like Mary too? How can you find a better balance?
What’s one thing you can do today to be like Mary?
Share in the comments. I’d love to hear more about it!
Your comment may be the spark of inspriation someone else needs and allow us all to enjoy the journey!