Tuesday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time
“There is need of only one thing…”
It is said, “Faith is about desiring one thing.” (Robert Barron) Faith means that my life is focused – totally, unambiguously, without any doubt, without any competition – on God and the things of God. Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, commends Mary because “she has chosen the better part.” She is focused on the Lord Jesus alone.
On the other hand, Jesus reprimands Martha, not because she is “busy serving” but because she is so divided, splintered and cluttered. The problem with her is not in her action, but her unfocused life. The Lord said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”
The Lord is also addressing these words to us – gently telling each of us: “Nelson, Nelson…you are anxious and worried about many things.” You are overly anxious about your personal plans, projects and ambitions. You are excessively worried about health issues, material things and financial security. You are unduly busy with your job, career, profession, business, interest, hobby. You are inordinately desiring too many things, too many people…too much of too many. You are too concerned about lesser important things. “There is need of only one thing…There is one thing necessary…Choose the better part…and it will not be taken from you.” “Choose ME! Focus your life on ME!”
Jesus praises Mary for choosing the better part – for choosing, in Latin, the “unum necessarium” (the one thing necessary). What is the better part that the gospel talks about? Christ himself is the better part – in fact, the best part. When Christ is the center or focus of our life – unambiguously – all our other concerns fall into a harmonious pattern.
How can we cultivate this attitude of focusing on the unum necessarium? It is through PRAYER…which simply means attending to God. We need to enrich our prayer life that we may not lose focus, and that everything we do may find direction, meaning and fulfillment in God and his will. Prayer puts us in the presence of the One who gives meaning to our life. May we always choose the better part.