Tuesday, 10/10/17 – Feet of Jesus

A new term has been coined recently—“stay-cation.” Some people, because of financial or time limitations, choose to spend vacation time at home rather than visit a resort. I’m not sure what people do on a “stay-cation,” but I suspect they use the time to catch up on work around the house, run errands, and maybe hit a restaurant or two. Or maybe they just lie back on the couch and saturate themselves with TV shows.

I have a suggestion for “stay-cation-ers.” Contemplation. This is not a new idea. Great saints like Teresa of Avila created life structures that allowed them to spend a good part of their day in the practice of contemplation. They assure us that this is the highest and most satisfying experience known to the human race. Many of us were brought up with the idea that the gift of contemplation was reserved for those who live in monasteries. This, of course, is not true. Today’s gospel story talks about one of the most celebrated contemplatives—Mary, sister of Martha. She was just an ordinary girl who loved to “waste her time” with Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).

“Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.”

As we read on, we find that Martha showed her love for Jesus by inviting him into her house, giving him a place of refreshment, and preparing a dinner for him. Mary, on the other, hand showed her love for Jesus by just sitting at his feet and “listening to him speak.” Mary could have chosen to hustle around the house set up the table, bring Jesus a drink, or find cushions to make him more comfortable. Instead, however, she did nothing but sit with Jesus and listen to him. We, contemporaries, would probably label Mary as “lazy.”

Jesus appreciated the love of these two women and looked forward to the refreshing times when he visited their home. We wonder whose act of love Jesus valued the most. When Martha started complaining to Jesus that Mary was leaving all the work to her, Jesus said the famous words,

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Mary was engaged in the supreme activity—listening to Jesus.

I looked up the origins of the word “contemplate.” The “con” refers to a joint action between one person and another or between a person and a god. “Templum” referred to a sacred space that “augurs” marked off in the sky for them to study. As these men took time to study a piece of the sky, they expected that their “gods” would speak to them. In time the “templum” became the inner temple that exists in every human heart. And, for us Christians, the “partner” who speaks to us in our inner temple is the living person of Jesus Christ.

As Mary listened to Jesus, her inner temple was awakened and became alive with the presence of God. She found the secret that monks pursue in their monasteries, and she found it in her own living room when Jesus visited her family.

We can have the supreme “stay-cation” experience right in the safety of our own homes. When we take time to allow Jesus to visit us, and let go for a while of what fragments our attention, we can expect our inner temples to be touched by the Word of God himself. This practice of being still before Jesus is a challenge for us who live in a busy culture that dedicates itself to “usefulness” and “getting things done.”

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for spring break or formal vacation time to take a “stay-cation” with Jesus. We can do it today. We carve out a piece of time, get comfortable, close our eyes, and imagine Jesus walking into the room. Then all we do is see ourselves sitting at his feet and listening to whatever he wants to tell us. Jesus will take it from there. When doing this, we may have to resist the “Martha voice” inside us that keeps saying “make yourself useful.”

“Come Holy Spirit give us the desire and resolve to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him.”
“The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the soul that seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

About the Author

Author Bob Garvey lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a master’s degree in religious education and has been an active leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal for forty years. After retiring as a high school teacher, he began to write daily commentaries on the Church’s liturgical readings and other topics relevant to Catholic spirituality. He is married to Linda, has three daughters and four grandchildren.

Author Archive Page


  1. Just what I needed to remember that listening and spending time with others, especially Jesus, is never a waste of time.

  2. Excellent reflection: I think many times we’d like ourselves to be the ones to chose the better part yet we don’t as there are many things to provide for and certain protocols for visiting that have to be met. I hear in Jewish culture this was paramount. Obviously, we all want to chose the better part. Sometimes, to me, in American society it poses the question, do we even see the choice?

  3. This is an eye opener for me and it has come at the right time.It is a good reflection for true and dedicated followers of our saviour Jesus Christ.

  4. Your reflection Bob today is very wonderful. It comes at a time we in Kenya require exactly that, a time with Jesus, listening to Him as He guides us out of the stalemate that we are finding ourselves in. Please Lord Jesus Christ come to our aid so that we may come out of this stand off that our country is in. Kindly Lord Jesus Christ we crying to you, Lord hear us.

  5. It really is not easy calming my mind, thoughts and Spirit to listen to the voice of the Lord. This reflection has, once again, reminded me of the significance of contemplation. We all need this even in this jet age generation of majority heading nowhere fast. Dear Lord Jesus, speak to me in the silence of my heart, Amen.

  6. Thank you, Bob! Somehow we all still need permission to do this. It’s so ingrained that I check off things on my list. It is always tough, but I’m always so much more joyful and at peace when I make time for Jesus in my day. Sometimes even my husband notices, and he can’t quite connect the dots yet, but it’s encouraging when he notices! Thank you and God bless.

  7. Thank you Bob, your reflection on this Gospel reading is more in depth than I’ve ever heard it explained. God Bless you.

  8. As I was reading your reflection, I envisioned all believers siting at the feet of our Savior, “contemplating.” What a productive outcome would emerge from that quiet and seemingly unproductive activity! I think of time spent in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and I am filled with gratitude for this Gift of God’s Presence.
    Thank you for your reflection that served as a catalyst for this vision and thought. God Bless you

  9. Thanks Bob! As I’ve gotten older I began to meditate more and more. If nothing else, it helps you to relax and even clear your mind of clutter. I would advise those who will begin trying this for the first time to only try 5 to 10 minutes until you actually feel as if your mind is emptying out of all busy thoughts. This may take a few days or maybe weeks; it all depends on how quickly you can adapt to that ‘putting on the brakes’ in your head as it were. It’s awkward, but it WILL come; and when it does then you can begin to add more time. The really good part of this is you don’t have to make a schedule for it either. Some days you may just have 5 minutes; and that’s ok! Some days you may not want to do it at all–that’s ok too. Other days, you’ll be praying for some time you can squeeze in a bit of meditation and that’s really ok!! hahaha Use it to relax–always! Don’t feel stressed about it. I sometimes do it while I’m waiting in a long line somewhere; but of course that takes a lot of concentration to ‘tune out’ all the white noise around you. Just TRY it and stay with it as much as possible; as you practice regularly it will be easier and quicker and you will FEEL refreshed when you’re done!!! Praise God and go meditate my friends in Jesus!!!!

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