On this Wednesday of the First Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
Sunday is family day.
How often do I hear that? Or more importantly, how often have I said that? In the past few months, I don’t know how many Sundays I’ve spent attending sporting events for my kids—not that I’m complaining. I really enjoy watching them grow, develop, compete.
But I think this notion that “Sunday is mine!” or “Sunday is family day” distorts the purpose of keeping the Sabbath holy. Scott Hahn reminds us that the Sabbath is intended to draw us closer to our Creator.
It reminds me of the dispute between Martha and Mary. To recap, Jesus was visiting the house of Martha, who busied herself with the entertainment. On the other hand, Mary—Martha’s sister—sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him. And Martha takes it up with the Big Man. Or at least, with His Son.
In my mind, Mary has opted for the ultimate Sabbath break: sitting at Christ’s feet absorbing His words.
I am often troubled when I hear sermons or read commentary on this Gospel story. Many present the story as a matter of yin-and-yang, the Chinese characters for the concept of balance in life. “You need to balance the work in your life with rest.”
I don’t read it that way. That interpretation dilutes the message. Jesus clearly identifies the superior option: “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Likewise, I need to recognize that the Sabbath, among all the days of the week, provides me the optimal time to refuel, but not strictly to replenish physical needs but more importantly to drink of the living water.
It’s easy for me to fall into the routine of making Mass routine. It takes effort to recognize the privilege of participating in the liturgical mysteries, to allow that privilege to color first the Day of Rest and then spread to the rest of each week.