LK 10; 38-42




If there is a profitable take-away from our experience of the pandemic, it is this: Life is precious but it is short and uncertain. We must take time to enjoy every moment, take time to gaze at the world in wonder and amazement. To many people, this discovery became a lifeline that gave meaning in spite of the uncertainties and hardships brought by the pandemic.


And so people began to take notice of the environment. We planted gardens, began bird-watching, reconnected with long lost family and friends. In a bid to appreciate nature more, I bought a set of binoculars to start watching the birds flying around the house but suspicious neighbors thought I was spying on them so I stopped using them when they are around!


The Lord Jesus truly loved the sisters Martha and Mary and valued their friendship. He appreciated the activism of Martha who was truly responsible, dependable, and self-sacrificing in her desire to offer Jesus comfort. But Jesus noticed one thing lacking in that, which he in turn saw in Mary. It was that sense of wonder, the calm disposition that enabled one to receive, to listen, to simply absorb the presence of the Lord. Both attitudes are important but they must be found together, and not in isolation.


Activism without contemplation becomes Pelagian, as Pope Francis always says. That means it becomes a reliance more on our own efforts than on grace to attain holiness. Contemplation without action becomes a selfish retreat into prayer that is unconnected with reality.


The saints have discovered the vital importance of balance in this matter. St. Benedict taught “ora et labora,” prayer and work as the key to finding God. St. Therese spent all her efforts to reach holiness but realized that in the end, one simply has to abandon oneself in Jesus’ loving arms. The Lord Jesus himself exemplified the value of working for the Kingdom that flows from deep intimacy with the Father and the Holy Spirit.


In life, work as if everything depends on you, people say. This is truly important. But let your work flow from prayer, from time spent with the Lord in his Word, in his presence, in worship. Then life itself will find a balance and an inexhaustible spring of hope, peace and joy.