By By Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla
The Better Part
posted 29-Jul-2019  ·  
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It is natural for us to have a lot of choices. We always have options on what course to take in life. The differences in our status in life depended much on how we chose and on the availability of those choices on that particular time when we had to choose. The effects of some of these choices can mean a lifetime just like when you choose the person to marry. Some others cannot even mean a difference at all, just like when we decide on the color of our clothes to wear.

I believe that every human being is programmed to choose the good, the beautiful, the easy and realizable, and the best among the choices given. This is innate in every human based on the premise that we were all created to be good. If there is a problem with this presumption, because there are a lot of our fellow humans who make poor choices, I believe that it is because we do not have the power or the capacity to choose the good. They were always part of our options and, most of the time, these good choices are the ones right in front of us before we made that poor choice. It is not because we were weak in choosing. It’s just that the enemy is probably stronger than us and he can easily fool us to make that failure in choosing the better part.

Some years ago, I was offered a choice which can have a lasting effect on my life had I only made that choice. Actually, I made the choice and that is not choosing that option for me to get rich. I was offered a place outside the Diocese of Virac and work for people who do not even speak my language and for people who haven’t even set foot on the place I love most. The gloss and glitters of money and fame did not convince me to abandon what I hold on to be true because I was very sure that joy and contentment will be so elusive if I had given in to that temptation of a lifetime.

Last Sunday’s Gospel tells us of the story of Martha and Mary. Martha, for her part, did all the preparations which are a normal procedure for one having a distinguished visitor, the Lord Jesus himself. Her sister, Mary, sat and listened to the words of Jesus. Martha did not do anything sinful in nature and she only wanted to serve the Lord by preparing all by herself what needed to be prepared. Mary, on the other hand, simply sat on His feet and listened to His words, and that was the better part.

We can serve God in so many various ways. We can serve Him by working tirelessly for our families. We can serve Him by being honest and a model for all peoples to see as we serve our country. We can serve Him through our efforts to save the natural resources. All these that I have mentioned is a form of serving God, though in so many different ways. But, again, the better part is nothing else but our own efforts to be closer to Him in everything that we do. By doing this, it can require our focus on Him alone, it can require our self-emptying by simply doing nothing and just let God do His part. It means that we have finally overcome these worldly allurements by simply getting content with what Christ has to say to us every day and make His words alive in us by doing His will.

Like Martha, we can be so anxious and worried of so many things in life and we always have the tendency to miss the better part. It is not bad to work for the Lord, like what Martha did, but then let us always bear in mind that, to be close to the Lord, no competition is ever needed because our only competitor is no one else but our own selfish selves.

It was no mistake for Martha to serve the Lord in her own ways of serving Him. However, in the process of serving the Lord, she became indignant and envious of the place where her sister was. It was like telling the Lord: “I am doing this for you and so please tell others to do just like I do because it will be unfair if I am the only one trying to do things to serve you.” The supposed value of her service was lost because she allowed herself to be affected by the deeds of her sister.

Holiness is a very personal matter and we must not be affected by what others are doing around us. It means that we still need to strive to be holy even is the whole world seem to have lost faith in God.  It cannot depend on other people, although it will be very heroic if, in serving God, we are also serving them.

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