Home » Gospel Reflections » July 17, 2016: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel reflection

July 17, 2016: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Associate Marilyn Neuman finds a comfortable place to pray during an individual reflection time.Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)


If we are called to be doers of the word, why is it that Jesus gives Martha a mild rebuke? It has to do with proper balance between listening and doing. Martha allowed herself to get so caught up in handling the necessities, that she forgot to check to ensure those tasks were God’s will for her that moment. Mary was listening to the Lord. After spending time in communication with God, she would again help her sister Martha in providing hospitality for Jesus and His followers.

Like Mary we each need to block out time each day to devote just to listening to God. We need to discover then cultivate our own sacred space. This is a place where we can easily tune down the world so that it is easier for us to focus upon God’s gentle whisper.

Once we discern God’s will, like Martha we can throw ourselves into the work knowing that together with God we are working to bring forth God’s loving plan.


Spend some time this week in your sacred space speaking with and listening to God. How does one find one’s sacred space? Most likely you have one, but did not realize it under that name. It starts as a physical place where you go to have a one-on-one with a loving God. Think back to a time and place when you said to God something akin to “I don’t know why, but I want to.” You waited patiently for God’s answer. That is your sacred space. If you don’t have one, choose one and give it a try. Over time, you will come to realize that your sacred space allows you to be like Mary in listening intently to God. Then, after listening, you can go back to being like Martha in actively serving the Lord.

Share this:

Helen Flavin

Helen Flavin is a Providence Associate. She is a Catholic scientist, educator and writer. Helen received her Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from Boston College. She is a fulltime science teacher. She is a guest columnist for her Diocese’s Catholic Newspaper “The Anchor.” She enjoys volunteering at the local nursing home.

Subscribe to the weekly Gospel reflection

Sign up to receive the weekly Gospel reflection in your inbox each week.

Join us for Taizé Prayer

Settle your soul with prayer, simple music, intentional silence and inspirational readings in person or online.

Learn more

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.