The second reading today, from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, bears a puzzling sentence – one that, I’m sure the different Christian religions may disagree on in terms of interpretation. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church…” I know that Christ’s great sacrifice on the cross is not “wanting” of anything – it was the perfect sacrifice. So what did St. Paul mean when he said this?
Here’s an explanation that I borrowed from Fr. Greg’s blog:
“Whenever each of us carries our small portion of Christ’s Cross, our suffering joins in Christ’s work of salvation. This means that our suffering can be salvific; hence, the phrase, “offer it up”. God gives us the opportunity to offer our suffering up for (the salvation of) others in the same way that Christ offered himself up for the salvation of all.
“in the mystery of the Church as his Body, Christ has in a sense opened his own redemptive suffering to all human suffering. In so far as man becomes a sharer in Christ’s sufferings—in any part of the world and at any time in history—to that extent he in his own way completes the suffering through which Christ accomplished the Redemption of the world” (“Salvifici Doloris”, Pope John Paul II, 1984).” If you would like to read Fr. Greg’s complete article on the subject, click here.
My reflection on the beautiful Mary and Martha gospel:
The Keeper of my heart –
I so long to see His face!
Beautiful, strong and rough –
I do yearn for His embrace.
His eyes – deep and tender –
They see to my very soul,
And set it all ablaze.
They conform me to His mold.
Humbled and in wonder,
I sit at His precious feet,
Wanting to soothe His scars,
And comfort Him so sweet.
How I love this Jesus!
My savior, my closest friend-
Forever by my side,
In a love that’s without end.
(poem a re-post from July of 2012)
Today’s gospel really speaks to me. Undoubtedly, I do have a lot of Mary in me – the part that enjoys going to adoration, sitting in an empty church staring up at the crucifix, or taking a walk alone in the woods. I must admit, however, that I tend to lean toward the Martha side an awful lot – the type A personality part that can’t rest until the house is picked up, the clothes hung, the dishes put away – my post written!
I borrowed a line from Audrey Assad’s song, “Restless,” to begin my poem, because it captures my feeling for Jesus so well. He is my heart. It is Him that I live for – Him I long to see. I yearn to be in His presence. I yearn to be soothed by Him – to feel the completeness of His faithful Love. In today’s gospel, I could easily picture myself as each of the two women in the story. I want so much to be Mary – to choose the better part – the peace and mercy that is offered to you and to me so lovingly – so generously in Jesus Christ. In our world today, we have become so burdened with a feeling of perpetual restlessness. Try as we might, we can’t ignore the noise, technology, multi-tasking and bustle.
Today, let us remember to take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus – to rest in Him – to be attentive to Him. Let us claim for ourselves the better part. He is all we need!