July 20, 2010

A Dose of MGM

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Luke 10:38-42 “Mary sat beside the Lord at his feet, listening to him speak.”
July 18, 2010

A friend came to me and said, “I attend Mass and pray the rosary every day. In spite of being busy with my work, I am actively involved in prison ministry. Yet I feel empty. I don’t feel God the way I used to do.” I simply said to her, “Visit the adoration chapel. Just stay there in silence and listen.” After a day, she came back, consoled and enlightened. She recognized the source of her emptiness. She unconsciously resented her husband for reprimanding her in public two years ago. She has forgiven him. The silence disposed her to listen to the voice of God.

Our gospel is not about who is better in the eyes of Jesus, Mary or Martha? Both are good. In fact, it is good to cultivate both the Mary and Martha in us. But we should know what hat to wear in a given situation. Our first reading showed that Abraham’s hospitality to the three strangers was rewarded with a promised son (Gen 18:10). I’m sure Jesus was pleased with Martha’s sincerity to prepare a good meal for him; but her hard work merited a correction from Jesus for complaining and for being anxious in many things. She forgot that listening and conversing with her guest was also important. Mary did sit and listen to Jesus. And Jesus delightfully replied, “Mary has chosen the better part.” (Luke 10:42).

There is great value in hard work. No doubt about it. But today, Jesus is emphasizing the necessity of listening to God.

Like Martha, we are always anxious with our daily concerns. We are pressured to earn a living for our family. Mothers must cook, clean the house, and take care of their children. Our office and school activities are up by this time. God expects us to be busy in all these things; but He also wants us to involve Him in our daily concerns.

Like Martha, we are task oriented and busy beings. This is our reality and God understands. Unfortunately, in our desire to please people and bring good results, we bury ourselves with our works and concerns and easily forget God. When we are busy and pressured in our work, our prayer life is the first thing that flies out of the window.

I admire people who are actively engaged in many things; but they are able to stop and pray in silence. They are highly motivated, spontaneous and happy people. They begin and end their day with God. They can drop everything in the middle of a busy day for a quick dose of “MGM” (Me and God moments). They know that prayer and hard work are both necessary. A good guiding principle to a busy but anxiety-less life: The more we are busy with many things, the more we should stop and pray.

Here is my personal guide how to STOP in prayer.

S – Silence: Seek God in silence and listen to His will.
T – Trust: Have faith in God. He knows many things and can see things beyond us.
O – Obey: With firm faith, follow what God wants you to do, even if it hurts.
P – Persevere: Don’t give up when things seems not working well. Just do your part and allow God to do the rest. It is only then that our anxiety will disappear.

“Every Christian needs half an hour of prayer each day except when busy. Then we need an hour of prayer” - St.Francis de Sales

Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ / Sacred Heart Chapel, Ateneo de Zamboanga University


  1. Thank you for a nice homily. you inspired me a lot. l feel i am like Martha too sometimes too busy with my work and ends with nothing. I mean sometimes i excuse myself from praying because i know God is always there. but then it is not yet the good reason i made. thank you for reminding me. You are great councelor.

  2. Thank you! I am planning to use Fr. Willie's homilies when I bring Holy Communion to the sick and homebound on Sundays.