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Saint Francis of Assisi (Memorial)
Francis, the man of God, left his home behind,
abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless,
but the Lord raised him up.
O God, by whose gift Saint Francis
was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility,
grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps,
Daily Meditation: Luke 10:38-42
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. (Luke 10:41)
Poor Martha! She had tried so hard. Unfortunately, this hardworking hostess is best known for getting angry with her sister and missing out on fellowship with Jesus. To add insult to injury, when Martha complained, it seems she got a rebuke instead of sympathy: “Martha, Martha” (Luke 10:41).
We tend to hear Jesus’ words to Martha as chastisement or frustration. But it’s quite possible that Jesus’ tone was not harsh. Jesus loved Martha; he longed for her to spend time with him. He wanted her to experience peace, not strife, and he wished that she could enjoy the closeness that Mary experienced sitting at his feet. So when he repeated her name, Jesus was probably speaking with tenderness and concern.
This wasn’t the only time that Jesus spoke this way. In fact, Luke uses similar repetitions to express Jesus’ yearning for people to encounter him. Lamenting the Jewish leaders’ rejection of him, Jesus cried out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how many times I yearned to gather your children together” (Luke 13:34). Later he pours out his heart when foretelling Peter’s denial: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail” (22:31-32). And in Acts, Jesus speaks with the same passion to the future St. Paul: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (9:4).
In all of these situations, Jesus spoke with intensity because his heart was moved with compassion. All of those people were important to him, and he didn’t want them to be separated from his love, not even for a moment.
Jesus doesn’t want any of his sons and daughters to miss out on his presence, including you. Just as he cried out, “Martha, Martha,” he calls you by name today—not once, but twice! Can you hear the love in his voice? He knows that you are busy and burdened and anxious; he knows your temptations and failings. And he wants to set you free. Jesus will never stop calling you. Come, sit at his feet.
“Here I am, Lord. I want to hear your voice today.”
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15