July 21, 2013 A View from the Rectory Window

“Martha had a sister named Mary, who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.”

My mind is drawn to that one description of Mary, the woman who doesn’t utter a word, who doesn’t seem to have a voice, but is captivated, instead, by the Voice of God, the voice of Jesus. Mary gets to hear the real thing.

Is there any image more beautiful? Any intention more holy? What more could any of us here want than to sit at the feet of the Lord, and “listen to him speak”? How many of us here would give anything to experience that moment, to be transported to Bethany for just a few minutes, to hear what Mary heard – and to have the opportunity, that blessed opportunity, to place ourselves in the presence of God . . . and to just listen.

But one of the tragedies of modern life is that listening for God’s voice has become increasingly difficult. So many others in our lives are competing to be heard.

Like Martha, we realize there is much to be done and we are worried and anxious about many things; the health of a loved one, our children, putting food on our tables, the mortgage, the weird noise in the car, skyrocketing debt, maybe even the melting of the polar ice caps or tar balls on the beach – you name it !

All around us, there is more than enough to be anxious about – and we could very easily find ourselves saying, with Martha, “Lord, do you not care that I’ve been left by myself to do the serving?” But as much as we serve – as much as we are called to serve and as much as we love to serve – we are also called, like Mary, to listen.

Luke’s gospel is all about listening. It begins with Zechariah listening to an angel. Then the Virgin Mary listens to an angel, too, and so does Joseph, and so do the shepherds. And decades later, there are the throngs who listen to Jesus on hillsides and on seashores. And near the end, in the final episode of the gospel, two people on a journey begin to discover the truth about Jesus by walking with him…and listening.

“Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.”

Monsignor Peter M. Joyce