The Lord's accusations continue against Israel as part of his complaint or lawsuit (v.2). He points out to his people, again, the good things he has done for them by redeeming them from Egyptian slavery and by sending his prophets to them with his word, which they repeatedly spurned. After these charges, however, comes one of the most beloved and succinct statements of the holy life anywhere in the Old Testament. "Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God" (v.8). To those misguided souls who suggest that the Old Testament is wrath-filled and law-centric, I simply point them here. Here is the a wonderful summary of the Christian life. At St. Augustine points out, "You ask what you should offer: offer yourself. For what else does the Lord seek of you but you? Because of all earthly creatures he has made nothing better than you, he seeks yourself from yourself, because you have lost yourself."
Today we read the familiar story of Jesus, Mary, and Martha. How many times have we been reminded of the necessity to slow down and focus on Christ in the busyness of our lives? How many times have we been encouraged to balance service and devotion? Plainly, this is a message we need to hear and be reminded of, perhaps at this point in history more than any other. Thinking of the "busyness" of first century life in Israel probably makes most of us laugh. And yet, Jesus had to remind them to slow down. How much more do we need to heed this instruction today? In our always-connected world, how deliberate must we be to make time for prayer, reading scripture, and quiet stillness? "Let the desire for wisdom lead you as it did Mary. It is a greater and more perfect work. Do not let service divert the knowledge of the heavenly Word" (Ambrose, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke).