Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A friend recently asked an older Jesuit and me to a dinner party. I was so impressed with the care he’d given every detail: a beautifully pre-set table; deliciously baked appetizers; and attention devoted to cleaning every corner of his home. But after a well-planned starter and salad, he ran into problems with the main course in the kitchen. Like Martha, I suspect he could have used some help, although unlike her he didn’t ask for it! Still, these unexpected issues kept him far from the good conversation we all enjoyed at the table.
We do our best to trust that what Jesus teaches in the Gospels includes direction on how we should try to live our lives. We’re never told that wanting things to be perfect is a bad thing. But Jesus makes clear that between perfection and presence, presence is the way to go.
Be present for someone today, even if your mind pulls you toward other tasks at hand. Push back at distractions that keep you from being fully present at the table of the Lord!
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently starting his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
I want to trust you for
the rest of my life. I want
you to help me to do it.
—Juan D., 6th grade, Sacred Heart Nativity School, San Jose, CA