Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."
Time and again, this Gospel is striking. Its sharp message cuts right through the tendril-like worries and distractions of one's respective situation and gets right to a core issue of Christian identity. What part do I choose?
A thousand times I have determined “the better part” to be the priority for my life. And a thousand times I have found myself yet again entwined in the tendrils of everyday worries. What is it that sucks as unceasingly into the vortex of activity?
Jesus speaks of an election here. Of course, we are not talking about two brutal alternatives. Neither has Martha excluded contemplative moments from her life nor was Mary a passive dreamer. But there are situations when you have the option, the option between contemplation or action, between halting or rushing, between reaching into the other's heart or secluding yourself in the worries that blind you for the true meaning of a situation. We have probably all experienced at least once that dedicating time to Jesus makes life be different. His peace lets us escape the vortex of activism.
Experience shows unmistakably that this is not the kind of election which you make once and for all. It requires a regularly renewed commitment to dedicate time to prayer. You need to recall the better part page after page or, at least, chapter after chapter, as the story of your life continues. Christ knows that, and this is why the Church presents this (and the other) gospel passages to us time and again in the cycle of the year. Here and now, choose the better part again! Contemplate Christ’s divinity, halt, sit down at His feet, and look into His eyes. Reach out to His heart and make Him the center of your day.