The Better Part

By Emily Hylden

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 10:38-42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her, then, to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, 42 but few things are needed — indeed only one. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”


It’s hard for me to pay attention, to keep my mind in the present, every moment of every day. Indeed, I’m not sure if we’re meant to do so. But it does seem to matter what we allow ourselves to be absorbed by. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with scrolling Instagram or zoning out with a podcast during a walk, but are we then unable to give our minds and hearts to the relationships around us?

I love to spend time with my young boys, but I admit to finding myself distracted — often. It just seems so much easier to plan a menu in my head than concentrate on which Lego superhero is currently the bad guy (who I invariably play). In the end, though, which is the replaceable thing? My meal plan, or my boys’ childhoods?

What are the things which can be taken away from us? A clean house, an organized cabinet, a swept floor (with three boys age 5 and under, it’s amazing how quickly those things can be taken away!); but what are the things which can never be taken away from me? The intimacy built from time in prayer, the revelation from sweet contemplation with God, the connection in worship with God and one another as we sing, pray, and partake of the sacrament.

As often as we can, may we choose the “better” part, giving our full attention to the things which cannot be taken away from us.

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

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