Listen, Reflect, Act…Repeat

16 Sunday OT (C)

Listen, Reflect, Act, Repeat

Our Gospel today picks up where we left off last week with this consecutive reading from Luke the only Gospel that contains these two passages.

Last week we heard the law summed up with the familiar challenge to Love God and Love neighbor and then we got a look at what that means as Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan offered the robbery victim the radical hospitality that accompanies loving neighbor in a godly way by breaking down cultural, social, religious and national barriers and redefining “who is my neighbor.”

This week we get another lesson on love of God and love of neighbor and hospitality with the story of Martha and Mary.

One of the challenges with familiar readings like these is that we might think we already know all there is to know, or that we know enough about the passage but that is never the case with scripture…there is always more to learn.

Rather than choosing whether we are “team Martha” or “team Mary” as thought the Gospel presents a “one or the other proposition” which it does not, or thinking we have mastered “love of God” by doing religious things regularly and “love of neighbor” by tolerating those we do not like or tepidly accepting those who are different in an “out of sight-out of mind” proposition these two powerful stories are more demanding than that.

These passages, taken together, give a meaningful insight into the steps required to truly experience love of God and practice love of neighbor.

Let’s consider the steps we can draw from these passages….Listen, Reflect, Act.


Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, the place of a disciple, and listens.

Martha, burdened by the details of hospitality misses the opportunity to even visit with Jesus and seems to get resentful.

Jesus says that Martha is anxious and worried about many things and Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. The better part here is to listen to the Word of God.

Listening is the first step.


Reflect, consider, think about what you hear is the second step.

The scholar of the law last week listened to Jesus tell the parable of the Good Samaritan and after considering what he heard the scholar gave an answer he did not expect. He thought about what Jesus was saying and came away with a new insight.

Once he acknowledged his new insight to the words of Jesus, he was told “Go and do likewise.”


We are told the same…. listen, reflect, and then go and act.

We all seem to want to do something but without listening first, and thinking about what we have heard, how can we possible ever truly know what to do?

Martha did not take the time to listen and her life was filled with anxiety and worry, she expended a great deal of energy but the scripture says she was “burdened.”

Earlier this week in a daily reading Jesus tells his followers in Matthew Chapter 11:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Please don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that God’s work isn’t real work or demanding or tiring… but if our work is filled with needlessly paralyzing worry and anxiety, and resentment them maybe we are doing the work of someone else or not doing our work the way God intends.


So after we listen, reflect, and act …one last step is to repeat..

Act some and frequently repeat the process by starting over with listening. Rest in the Lord, as he invites us to do and start the process all over again.

Listen, Reflect, Act, Repeat

Listen, Reflect, Act, Repeat,

Listen, Reflect, Act, Repeat,

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