Christ in the home of Mary by Johannes Vermeer (1654-1655)

Today’s readings teach us that whether ours is a contemplative or an active vocation / life, each life finds the origin of purpose in the person of Jesus.

St. Paul had a very active apostolate, traveling all across parts of Asia and Europe preaching the Gospel of Jesus and establishing the early church in many communities. Paul demonstrates the fruitfulness of a life built upon the person of Jesus. Paul had the encounter with the Risen Jesus, heard his call, and spent his life in complete response.

In Luke’s well known account of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary in their home in Bethany, we hear Martha ask the Lord to tell Mary to help her with the preparations. Jesus does not scold her for her activity, but rather reads her heart and instructs: first things first – be content to simply rest with me for a while.

Jesus makes an interesting observation of Martha, which is true of most of us today: “you are anxious and worried about many things.” Jesus wants to calm Martha, and he wants to calm us as well.

There is a beautiful Novena to Surrender which concludes each meditation with a simple prayer: “Jesus, I surrender my life to you; take care of everything.” Jesus is teaching Martha to surrender her anxiety and worry to him and recognize that Jesus wishes to take care of her, to work through her. He desires to the same for each of us.

Whether contemplative or active, we have need of only one thing – one person – Jesus. Let us surrender to him and know what work we are to be busy about. Let us do all things in him, through him, and for him, and discover the marvelous ways ‘he takes care of everything’.