Memorial of Saint Martha
July 29, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings offer us a central question for our faith and spirituality: What do we really worship?
As we continue the Exodus story, Moses has been on the mountain receiving the Law from God. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, delegated leader Aaron is blowing his assignment. The Israelites tire of waiting for Moses. They want another god to lead them onward. Aaron comes up with idea of fashioning such a idol from all their molten jewelry.
When Moses descends the mountain with the newly-minted tablets in hand, he burns in anger at the scene, smashing the holy stones at his feet. More than a flared temper, this act symbolizes a fractured relationship with God.
The story suggests this for our prayer: we are in ever-deepening relationship with God through our own covenants – our creation, our baptism, our further professions of faith and commitment, our sacramental encounters. These are all living relationships, inviting us to new and deeper life in God.
Still, there may be times in our lives when our hearts lose focus on these covenants
- when we try to move somewhere without God’s companionship
- when we substitute old baubles for moral or spiritual truth
- when we return to weakening comforts rather than grow into a challenging grace
- when we just get really mixed up about what is most important in our lives
The calf-worshippers had a big fail in this regard. Exodus tells the story of a merciful God trying to deal with their disloyalty and refashion them as God’s chosen people.
Our Gospel shows us Martha, also a little off target in terms of her spiritual priorities. While she is no where near idol worship, she still allows needless distractions to keep her from fully enjoying relationship with God.
Gentle, merciful Jesus turns her eyes toward him and she understands. Maybe that beautiful grace is what we want to pray for today.
Music: You Alone – Sarah Hart