Some contemplatives are really hard core. That is to say, their commitment to contemplative prayer requires their whole being. The Carthusians are one such community. In North America, there is only one Carthusian monastery, which is in Vermont. The life is a total commitment to contemplation and to prayer and study. Today’s readings provide us with snapshots of vocation stories, first of Paul, then of Martha and Mary. This reminds us that Jesus gives a plethora of vocations for the entire Church to flourish.
I have been dreading the upcoming election season in the United States. I worry that the horrible way we are treating each other will get worse. As I consider a world where there is too much violence, where too often we retreat into our tribes and groups, that once again we will fail to be civil. And it is not just society. There is incivility in the Church, in fact, just about everywhere. What would happen if we made a decision to listen, to dialogue, and to get to know others we do not agree with? Let’s give it a try.
Today we have two readings that are quite different, and yet are interesting in the way in which they tell similar things about God. We have probably heard both before. The prophet Jonah is told by God to go to Nineveh, which at one time was the largest city in the world. Jonah does not want to go. In fact, he heads in the opposite direction. Martha and Mary are mentioned in more than one gospel. This story is probably familiar to us as well. Martha, the good hostess, is doing many things related to hospitality. Mary spends her time listening to the words of Jesus. Both Martha and Jonah become upset because Mary and Nineveh are not doing what they want them to do. Martha wants hospitality help and Jonah wants Nineveh to be destroyed. In the end, they both learn that they must allow God to be God.