Summary: Special Quinceanera Message: Jesus has choosen what is most needful. He gives us the capacity to do the same. Because of this we get the miracle instead of a sermon.
It is truly a joy to be here – privileged to be a part of this wonderful celebration. Paola, we are here with your parents and with your friends and with your church family to thank God. It is through his grace that we can celebrate today. And our prayer today is that God may accompany you throughout your life. As you grow older, you will face many difficult situations, Paola. Choices will be placed before you. In the future, you will be able to show not only that you talk the talk, but that you walk the walk. At stake in those choices will not be your salvation – you see, Christ took care of that many years ago. What will be at stake is your effectiveness, or alas your lack of effectiveness as a believer and your peace of mind in your relationship with God.
Let me read a passage from the Gospel according to St. Luke for you:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10.38-42)
This is a wonderful passage because it clearly illustrates to us what is important to God – what He values. Here we meet a family – two sisters - Mary and Martha. From another place in Scripture, we also know that these sisters had a brother named Lazarus. On this day, this family gets unexpected company – Jesus and the disciples.
Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. And we know that Jesus had a special love for this little family too. He comes into the house and starts to do what He loves - teach. The Lord was a captivating teacher – crowds followed to hear him. Today was no exception. Mary and Martha were eager to serve Jesus. Martha did so by getting busy around the house. She had to cook and serve - to make sure that the guests had food and drink. But Mary chose to serve Jesus by sitting down to listen to Jesus teach.
Then something happened. Martha – the busy one - thought that Mary’s style of serving was bogus - inferior – didn’t cut it. Martha took her complaint to Jesus. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Isn’t that the conundrum that we face daily - choosing what is most needful? You see, Martha didn’t realize that in her busy-ness she was actually neglecting Jesus. It sure seemed like the right thing to do. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be hospitable? Aren’t we supposed to show our guests that we care about them? The answer is yes – and that is exactly why Martha didn’t choose what was most needful. Instead of spending time in the presence of Christ, she got busy. She had lots of things that she needed to do. She had to make preparations. She had to work. She was busy – so much so that she forgot to make time for Jesus.
Paola, you will have many opportunities in the future to choose between spending time with Jesus and being busy. That will be the choice – the choice that will determine not your salvation, but the nature of your relationship with Christ. Not making the most needful choice, converts God and the things He wants for us into a burden. But making the most needful choice will put you in a position to be served by God. The things of God become awesome touchstones for living - God becomes a friend.
Here’s a question - “What would you prefer to get from Jesus: a sermon or a miracle?” You see, if we don’t make the most needful choices along the way – we get sermons. The Apostle John writes about another meeting between Jesus and this little family. You see, the brother, Lazarus had gotten very sick. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love, Lazarus is sick. Come and help him.” But Jesus delayed. By the time Jesus started to Mary and Martha’s, Lazarus had died.
Now listen, there is no question that both Martha and Mary loved Jesus. We are talking about two faithful followers of the Lord here. But there was a difference in heart. How Jesus responds to each speaks to the little choices they had made along the way. When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha was the first to see Him. Let me read about the encounter between Martha and Jesus from the Gospel of St. John: