Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings suggest that there are many different ways to pray – to acknowledge and respond to God’s Presence in our lives, to deepen in relationship with God.
Jonah has just finished his prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance from the chaos. This prayer is transformative. Jonah is different – open to God’s call – after it. The Ninivites, after hearing only one day of Jonah’s preaching, respond by acts of fasting and mortification . Their king, when he hears of their actions, himself formalizes a drastic national atonement. The repentant prayer of the Ninivite Kingdom is also transformative. They turn from their evil ways and open their hearts to God’s sovereignty.
Our Responsorial Psalm 130, a treasured and classic song of lament, shows us the transformative power of this kind of prayer. The one praying from the depths of her heart:
- names her suffering
- weeps with God because of it
- begs deliverance
- in the begging, relinquishes the outcome to God
- receives peace in the relinquishment
- is transformed by that peace and offers praise
Our Gospel offers us another classic example of types of prayer, that of contemplation and that of service. In the story, Mary is affirmed for her singular attention to the presence of Christ – her contemplative prayer. Martha, on the other hand, pays attention to Christ by her service. Some have interpreted Martha’s as a lesser form of prayer. However, Macrina Weirdekehr, in her new book “The Flowing Grace of Now”, gives us this powerful insight into Martha’s prayer:
“Mary’s listening annoys Martha, who is busy serving. Yet if the full truth be known, Martha was also sitting at the feet of the teacher. She is sitting at the feet of service. Later, after dinner was served, with Jesus gone and Mary retired for the evening, I envision Martha finally sitting down by herself, and listening to the experience of the evening. As she reviewed the evening and her lament in the midst of her service, perhaps she began to realize that all of this was part of the wisdom offered by the school of life. We learn by contemplating our daily struggles.”
(I so highly recommend this deeply beautiful book available from:
Today, we might consider our many ways to talk with and be with God, to give time and awareness to this all-encompassing relationship in our lives.
Music: Lord, I Need You – Matt Maher