“Quiet the Busyness” By Miranda Fitzpatrick, Fiat Ventures

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Most of us have heard the Gospel story from this weekend about Martha and Mary. It is a lesson we have heard time and time again, this call to quiet the busyness. The Lord tells Martha, “You are anxious about many things. There is need of only one thing.” How many things are you anxious about?

I know I am anxious about a lot right now. Two weeks ago, I had the blessing to spend a week on a mission trip with high school teens serving those in need. This week I am leading a middle school service camp locally at my parish. I also just got engaged (praise God!) and I am trying to choose a date and pick a venue that we like and that we can afford and find a date where our priest, our Church, and our venue are all available. All these things feel all-consuming to me. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is room for anything else in my life! When really, there is need for only one thing this whole time. The Lord!

It is difficult though, consider Martha – what was it that she was busy with? She was serving the Lord. Her intentions were good! Jesus was her guest, and not only that, but she also knew that He was special. She wanted to serve Him. Similarly, all the things that I am busy with are really, really good things. Mission trips, service camps, and blessed engagements are things of God and for God. I, just like Martha, am serving the Lord. It is not always the case that we are pulled away from Christ because of sin or evil, or worldly things. Though those things certainly do pull us away. Sometimes we are even bogged down by good things that just become too much, they consume us too much.

You can see how this burden has created a negative energy because Martha gets frustrated. She asks Jesus “do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” Sometimes the task of planning and prepping a middle school service camp can feel burdensome, there are so many details and carpools, and materials for games, and all these different things we need to coordinate. It is easy to get frustrated. Maybe it’s parents who back out as drivers, or campers who have a lot of energy when you’re trying to talk to them, or high school volunteers who get confused while they’re trying to introduce a game. We can forget about the fruits that camp bears, the Saints that the campers learn about, the experiences of service, the moments of prayer, and encounters with Christ.

The Lord is calling us to quiet the busyness from time to time. To sit at His feet and listen to Him teaching, just as Mary demonstrates for us. It is important for us to remember that even good things, when they become abundant and consuming, can sometimes take us away from the greatest good that is the Lord. After all, there is need of only one thing.

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