Weekly Preaching

July 21, 2019

Gn 18:1-10a/Col 1:24-28/Luke 10:38-42

Sister Francina Martha Alken, OP
Sr. Francina Martha Alken, OP
“Martha, Martha!”  . . .  All my life I heard this as a “rebuke” insinuating that unlike Mary, she was not perfect enough. I lived with it trying to be loved by my mother, Marie, and all I came in contact with. That is until about five years ago . . . as a pastoral minister, I went to visit one of our parishioners in the hospital. I went to the front desk and asked for the room number for Jane. The person at the desk said, “We have no Jane listed here.”  

I went back to the office and called the family and let them know what happened. I asked, “Isn’t Jane in the hospital?” Yes, they replied but her name is “Mary Jane.” So, I went back to the hospital and asked for Mary Jane, and the person at the front desk said “She’s in room 410.”  

That made me realize that I’d better let my community know that my legal first name is Francina. I’ve been going by my middle name all my life. I asked my mother once, “Why didn’t you call me Francina?” She responded, “Your grandma was Francina, your aunt and one of your cousins were Francina . . . so we called you Martha.” (Pronounced “Marta” as the “H” is silent in Dutch.) That made sense. She wanted her daughter to be unique—but all legal documents had me as Francina Martha.

Now you know my legal status. Was this just one more thing to worry about? Whatever is legal is ok, but I seem to identify with the anxiety of a “Martha.”

With whom do you identify in today’s Gospel?  Are you choosing to live life with the focus on Jesus or on all the things we have to take care of?  If we choose the latter option, we forget that anxiety can be put in its place!  Let’s choose the first option . . . Jesus, and tell anxiety where to go.

by Sister Francina Martha Alken, OP