.- Before Sunday's Angelus prayer from the intimate courtyard of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the need to listen to the Word of God. As Mary does in Sunday's Gospel, we must learn to choose the "best portion" in our relationship with the Lord.
The small inner square of the apostolic was bustling with people at noon on Sunday, taken over by a group of Spaniards promoting the canonization cause for a young man killed in the Civil War and an especially vocal group of young Salesians from Poland called the "Bosco Team."
During his pre-Angelus catechesis, Holy Father noted that with the arrival of summer comes vacation time and, thus, a "favorable moment" to bring our focus back to what is most important in life: "listening to the Word of the Lord." We are reminded of this, he said, in Sunday's Gospel reading, which is centered around Jesus' visit to Mary and Martha.
The sisters host Jesus in their home, Pope Benedict XVI recalled, Mary sitting at his feet and listening to him and Martha occupying herself with serving the "exceptional" guest.
We can almost see the scene, said the Pope, "one sister who moves about busily, and the other entranced by the presence of the Teacher and by his words."
Martha scolds Mary for not assisting with the duties of serving and enlists Jesus' help to get her sister to give her a hand. Reflecting on this scene, the Pope exclaimed, "Martha wishes to teach the Teacher!"
And, instead, pointed out Benedict XVI, Jesus says with affection, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled over many things. And yet only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the best portion, and it shall not be taken away from her."
On this, the Pope explained that "The word of Christ is very clear: no contempt for the active life, none either for generous hospitality; but a clear call back to the fact that the only truly necessary thing is another: listening to the Word of the Lord; and the Lord in that moment is there, present in the Person of Jesus!"
Turning to the meaning for today, he observed that "Everything else will pass and will be taken from us, but the Word of God is eternal and gives meaning to our daily activity."
The reading from St. Luke, then, applies to our vacation time "because it recalls the fact that the human person must work, commit himself to the domestic and professional occupations, but before everything he needs God, who is the interior light of Love and Truth," said Pope Benedict.
"Without love, even the most important activities lose their value, and they don't give (us) joy. Without a profound meaning, all of our doing is reduced to sterile and disordered activism. And who gives us Love and Truth if not Jesus Christ?
"Let's learn then, brothers and sisters," he concluded, "to help each other, to collaborate, but first still to together choose the best part, which is and will always be our greatest inheritance."