December 10, 2023
Listen and trust. The Gospel puts two aspects of life side by side and says, "You know, you need both of these things." But as St. Thomas Aquinas would say, "One is a little bit better." And that's what Mary chooses. The contemplation of Jesus in life.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri. Readings for Today. Listen to our other homilies.

listen, trust
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Listen and Trust in God


These are just the readings of the day, but I think today’s gospel probably fits well with Linda. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether she’s Martha or Mary, but the gospel has a very particular point, but I want to begin with the first reading today, because the first reading is really a continuation of this great story of Jonah.

Jonah has been called by God to preach to the people of Nineveh, a huge city of the day, to get them to repent and to recognize that if they don’t, they will be destroyed. Jonah doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t like the people of Nineveh. He doesn’t want them to convert. And as we’re going to learn, he gets mad at God precisely because God shows them mercy.

It’s an interesting thing for us in our own lives, I think, to reflect on how is it that we respond to what God wants in our life. Do we open ourselves to the will of God, especially when it seems like it’s hard or difficult or something we don’t even want to do? Or can we accept it, in the face of it being hard or difficult or cutting against the grain?

The Gospel puts two aspects of life side by side and says, “You know, you need both of these things.” But as St. Thomas Aquinas would say, “One is a little bit better.” And that’s what Mary chooses. The contemplation of Jesus in life. The spending time with Jesus, the interaction with the Lord, the finding time in our busy lives not to be active, but simply to sit at the feet of the Lord.

Now Martha finds this difficult. She’s a good woman. She believes in Jesus. She’s the one who says at the death of her friend Lazarus, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ.” It’s not that she was without faith. It’s not that she didn’t contemplate.

It’s that at this particular moment, she lost sight of what was most important. And that’s what challenges like the one that we’re facing now can do to us. They can cause us to lose our real vision. They can cause us maybe even to see or to begin to think that God doesn’t love us, that God doesn’t care for us.

It’s hard when someone we love is sick. It’s hard when someone we love and care about has found themselves in a very difficult place. And as much as I would like to say, “Don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine,” I can’t say that. A, I’m not a doctor, but B, I don’t even know if that’s true.

And yet, what do we do? We could despair and say, “Well, too bad. What more can we do?” We could go into our house and just withdraw from everything and feel sad and miserable. where we can recognize what Martha needed to learn in the Gospel, that we are in the presence of God.

And we see and experience that presence of God, not just in the Church, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, not just in the Eucharist, but in each other, made in the image and likeness of God. And so we do the only thing we can do.

We come together to support each other, to care for each other, and we pray, leaving all in God’s hands, recognizing that our love is as real as it can be, recognizing that God loves us more than anything, but learning what Jonah needed to learn as well, But in all things, we must go wherever it is that God leads us.

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