Stop and listen to Jesus this summer, says Pope

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In his Sunday Angelus address the Pope urges the faithful to take time to meditate.

Acknowledging that “Jesus overturns our way of thinking many times,” Pope Francis, during his Angelus meditation on July 17, 2022, focused on the Gospel story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary, read in the liturgy for this 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He explained that in the face of Martha’s activism, even with generous motivations, Mary’s attitude of listening is to be preferred because it manifests her availability to the will of God.

In Luke’s Gospel account, “Martha’s “philosophy” seems to be this: first duty, then pleasure.” Jesus recognizes Martha’s commitment but “there is a new order of priorities, different from the one she had followed until then.” “Mary had intuited that there is a ‘better part‘ that must be accorded first place. Everything else comes after, like a stream flowing from the source. And so we wonder: what is this ‘better part?’ It is listening to Jesus’ words.” insisted Francis.

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Sitting down to listen to him, Mary understood that Jesus is not a guest like the others, and that he “came to give himself to us through his word.” “The word of Jesus is not abstract; it is a teaching that touches and shapes our life, changes it, frees it from the opaqueness of evil, satisfies and infuses it with a joy that does not pass,” Pope Francis insisted.

Rather than worrying about the practical conditions for receiving Jesus, Mary “stops and listens,” demonstrating that practical commitment has value only if it “flows from listening to the word of Jesus.” “Otherwise, it is reduced to fussing and fretting over many things, it is reduced to sterile activism,” the Pope warned, calling on people to take advantage of the summer vacations to “find free time to meditate.”

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The Pope once again invited to start each day by “seek inspiration first in the Word of God.” “If we leave the house in the morning keeping a word of Jesus in mind, the day will surely acquire a tone marked by that word, which has the power to orient our actions according to the wishes of the Lord,” the Bishop of Rome assured.

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