Saturday, July 21, 2007
16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - C
The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in
the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. Looking up,
Abraham saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from
the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, he
said: "Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past
your servant. Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your
feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree. Now that you have
come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that
you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way."
The men replied, "Very well, do as you have said." Abraham hastened
into the tent and told Sarah, "Quick, three measures of fine flour!
Knead it and make rolls." He ran to the herd, picked out a tender,
choice steer, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk, as well as the steer that had
been prepared, and set these before the three men; and he waited on
them under the tree while they ate. They asked Abraham, "Where is
your wife Sarah?" He replied, "There in the tent." One of them
said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and
Sarah will then have a son."
Brothers and sisters: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of
Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a
minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to
completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and
from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy
ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this
mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone
with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
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. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to
him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by
myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to
her in reply, "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."
My dear friends, the Scripture readings for this Sunday illumine the
importance of hospitality. They challenge us with the question of how
hospitable we are to others and also of how hospitable we are to God
in our lives.
In the reading from Genesis, Abraham and Sarah are presented as
models of active and gracious hospitality. The three mysterious
travelers, moving along in the intense heat of the desert, receive
spontaneous kindness from Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah go to
great lengths to provide rest for these travelers and to make them
feel welcome. They do not realize that in offering hospitality to
these visitors, they are in reality entertaining messengers from God.
God has come to visit them in the disguise of these unexpected
guests. In this moment of hospitality, Abraham and Sarah are given a
solemn promise, the promise of the birth of their son, Isaac. Isaac
represents their future as a people.
This Sunday's Gospel reading is also about the virtue of hospitality.
The story of Martha and Mary is all about what it means to invite
Jesus into our lives. Martha is not the hero of this story although
she seems to be doing all the work in this scene. It is not the case
that Martha's genuine concern about the details of hospitality does
not have its place or importance. But it appears that Martha is so
caught up in all of the activity that she misses the person, the
person of Jesus. It is Mary who recognizes that the most essential
part of hospitality is attentiveness to the person. Mary is
attentive to Jesus and listens to his words.
There are countless moments and ways in which you and I are called to
extend hospitality to others. It may be answering the telephone and
listening to the troubled friend or family member on the other end of
the line. It may entail inviting someone into our home and making
them feel welcome. Sometimes it involves simply listening to the
concerns of a coworker. It means extending a kind look and warm
greeting to the homeless person we meet on the street even if we are
unable to offer him or her any money. This hospitality may involve
sitting down and talking with a child about something of interest to
him or her. And, of course, there are countless other moments in
which you and I are invited to extend gracious hospitality to
There are many things that we can and should do in order to make
people feel at home. But the most important thing is to be attentive
to the person. Attentiveness and listening require effort on our
part. They call for the willingness to put aside our own agenda for
a while and listen to people. Attentive listening is hard work. But
it can be a source of healing for others. And, like Abraham and
Sarah, we may well discover that in being attentive to others, we
have encountered the presence of God.
This Gospel reading also challenges us to reflect upon the ways in
which we are called to show hospitality to Jesus in our lives. Mary
of Bethany is set before us as a reminder of the importance of
attentiveness to the Lord as he speaks to us. She sits at the feet of
Jesus and listens to his word. As followers of Jesus, we need to set
aside regular time to speak and to listen to him. There is nothing
more important that we can do. Even if we can only devote a few
minutes a day to prayer, that time is essential. We need to speak
with Jesus about all that is going on in our lives. We need to tell
him all about it, not for his sake but for ours. It is important
that we speak with Jesus about the significant decisions we must
make. And, like Mary, we need to listen to his word.
We are invited to listen to his word in the Scriptures that we hear
and read. And we are called to become quiet enough to hear his word
spoken personally to us in the depths of our hearts. Sometimes we
need simply to sit in the presence of Jesus and say nothing. It is
through moments like these, even if they are not lengthy, that Jesus
becomes more real to us and that we become more aware that he is
present to us always, in all that we are and do.
Our lives as Christians are meant to be an ongoing conversation with
Jesus. In order for that to happen, we must extend hospitality to
Jesus. We need to be attentive to his presence and to listen to his
word. At the Eucharist, we come to the table of the Lord, where
Jesus is our host. He invites us to his table, listens to us
attentively, and gives us himself to be our nourishment. May we
welcome Jesus into our lives by extending hospitality to others and
by committing ourselves to regular prayer.
It is highly significant that this story immediately follows on the
story of the Good Samaritan, which we looked at last week. The two
stories complement each other. The story of the Good Samaritan began
with the more spiritual concept of love for the neighbor but led into
the touching account of highly practical love-in-action. In today's
Gospel story, however, we see Martha being highly practical in
serving the immediate needs of her guests.
But Jesus points to another dimension in Christian living, which is
also of prime importance and that is the direct personal relationship
between a person and God. To be a disciple of Christ is not just to
be hyperactive in charitable works for others, nor is it to be
totally unknowing of what is going on around us. It is a combination
of both, what is sometimes described as being "contemplative in
action". The action simply flows out of our experiencing God in our
lives. So it is that in this story, it is Mary who has chosen
the "better" part, which is to listen to Jesus, the Word of God.
Only those who have listened carefully to the Word of God know how to
behave in the way that God wants. Out of that listening will flow the
deep concern for the well-being of other people and indeed for the
whole of creation itself.
God bless you.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Rosebel Saavedra - Asprer
... healings for Helen, Cecelia, BE, Ken, Ann, Chris
... for the personal intentions of:
- San Juan de Dios Hospital
- Guevara Family
... for the eternal repose of the soul of Geronimo Z. Velasco. Eternal
rest grant unto him and perpetual light shine upon him. May he and
all the dearly departed rest in peace.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Anna Marie Lucas
- Wedding Anniversary: Ben & Net Ong
- In Memoriam (+): Jose Maristela (1916 -1978)
- In Memoriam (+): Julian T. Uy Jr.
- In Memoriam: John Joseph B. Tanjeco
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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