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mystayI found an interesting coincidence when I clicked on the American Catholic website this morning, looking for anything unique about Martha, the sainted sister of Lazarus and Mary whose feast we celebrate today. She is known for her work ethic – and her apparent frustration with her sister who preferred sitting at the feet of Jesus to helping with the meal preparation. This morning’s gospel (JN 11:19-27) is the less familiar exchange of Martha with Jesus where she laments the fact that if he had come sooner her brother wouldn’t have died. We shouldn’t miss the last part of that text where Jesus challenges her belief about him. She doesn’t hesitate as she answers clearly that she believes in him as the Christ, needed evidence of her reflective side perhaps.

But back to my discovery of the morning…While I wasn’t satisfied to reiterate the common message of balance gleaned from the Mary/Martha evidence (i.e. “Virtue stands in the middle.”), I had to pay attention because it got a boost from a wise and popular source: Pope Francis! It appears that after his whirlwind tour of three South American countries and as he prepares for his first, important trip to North America in September, he is on a “staycation.” Of course it was the newly-coined term – new to me at least – that got my attention. It seems that, while the Pope will not be going to some peaceful place to renew himself after his strenuous last few weeks, he is curtailing his public appearances until August 6th, content to do study and paperwork in an effort to rest and regain a healthy balance of his energy.  We would do well to follow his example if our responsibilities don’t allow a vacation right now. So my question to myself this morning is about how I will spend my staycation time in August. Hmmm…

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