What is the one thing necessary in your life? Have you thought about that question which Jesus poses in the Gospel today? What would your honest answer be based on what you are focused on in your life?
If I look at my life honestly, I probably spend a great deal of time doing housework, like Martha, being more focused on the to-dos around the house than I am sitting with Jesus. It feels like housework is very necessary to steward the gift of a home God gave me.
At the same time, housework can easily take over my life. There is always something to do! The kitchen is dirty around the clock. There’s always something that needs to be picked up, wiped down, or fixed – or a meal to be prepared. And when I’m not doing housework, I’m often thinking about the work that needs to be done that I’m not doing because I have a bit of OCD in me.
In spiritually directing women, I often find that the to-dos of everyday life get in the way of more prayer time – especially when the person has their own home or family. Sitting in prayer feels like a luxury that most of us don’t think we have extended time for. It also feels like it’s a conscious choice that we have to make time for, and there never seems to be enough time.
But Jesus calls our preoccupation with housework to-dos into question this week. Is all that cooking, cleaning, fixing, and preparation really what’s necessary? Should that be put above sitting in His presence and even being with the presence of others like family and friendships? How might we simplify these to-dos or put them aside to make more room for Christ?
I think that’s why the Church generally calls us to live with more poverty of spirit and simplicity. Because when we don’t, we quickly get caught up in all the to-dos of the material life. We have less time, energy, and room for God.
Something to ponder this week: Is Christ calling you to set aside the housework and make a little more room and time to sit in His presence? I think today’s Gospel makes the answer clear.