July 21, 2019 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
From the Book of Genesis (18:1-10a)
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.”
From the Second Letter of Paul to the Colossians (1:24-28)
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.
From the Gospel of 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.
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.”
When a close relative or a close friend would pay us a surprise visit, this makes us feel uneasy. Our things might still be scattered around the house. We do not want a visitor to see how disorderly our place that is why, if a surprise visit happen we would also feel embarrass. However, despite the embarrassment that we would feel, we still welcome the visitor with grace and warm hospitality.
However, what if strangers will come and visit us? Are we still going to be hospitable and kind?
In today’s readings we have also heard about such surprise visits which brought blessing to those who were visited. In the Book of Genesis, Abraham was visited by three men. They were strangers to Abraham yet he welcomed them with kindness and openness. Abraham must have felt how tired and hungry those men were. He was sensitive to their needs.
However, Abraham did not know that these men were angels of the Lord. Through Abraham’s welcoming and kind attitude towards these strangers, the Lord blessed him and his wife. This blessing was the promise of a son.
This story tells us that even God would visit us also in a surprising way. And God’s visit will bring us blessing. Thus, it is also important that we remain welcoming and accepting of God’s surprises for us.
But then, God may also may visit us not just through strangers but also though ordinary people or even those to whom we are already familiar with. This is the story that we have heard in the Gospel today.
Martha and Mary who were sisters of Lazarus were good friends of Jesus. The Lord showed his affection towards them by visiting these women. And it is very interesting on how each of them responded to Jesus’ presence.
Martha was certainly a very good woman. She related with kindness to people around her. This was shown on how she would make herself busy in providing and making sure that everything was alright. She was indeed, sensitive to the needs of others. With this attitude, she surely welcomed Jesus with great kindness and warmth.
Nevertheless, there was something that troubled Martha. She was also a woman who easily get anxious and worried. She was caught with so many things that when Jesus visited them, she was overwhelmed with her anxieties on how to make Jesus feel provided and comfortable. Sad to say, her anxieties prevented her to have a deeper encounter with Jesus and making herself closer in the presence of the Lord.
As a result, she became complaining. She complained to Jesus on why her sister Mary was not helping her in the kitchen. She might have expressed bitterness towards her sister for not being sensitive to her. However, Jesus confronted her of her own anxieties and worries.
We would surely find ourselves too in this situation. We might find ourselves worrying and becoming anxious of personal struggles such as your failures and unfulfilled dreams and desires, or the overwhelming loads of our work and business, or the issues that our relationships are facing today, or the great demands that your family life is requiring you to do, or the illness of a loved one that pains you.
When we let these one or more issues to overwhelm us, then, we will certainly become disturbed. We will be out of focus. Like Martha, we might also become complaining. Consequently, our relationship with others and even with God will be affected. We could become negligent of our self-care and inattentive to our other relationships because our worries and anxieties have grabbed us to what are more essential and important.
Jesus is teaching us today through the person of Mary. Mary though she appeared passive and insensitive to her sister Martha, was praised by Jesus. Mary realized the greatness of the presence of the Lord. Mary realized also that Jesus wanted their presence that is why she chose to be closer to Jesus and sat at his feet. Mary found peace and true confidence with Jesus
This tells us that the Lord does not want us to keep ourselves busy and filled with worries and anxieties. As Jesus visits us, he desires that we become sensitive to his presence, attentive to his invitations and welcoming to his words.
This is also the same with our other relationships. We might need more awareness for ourselves, and a quality time to spend with our loved ones. With these, then, we will also see and realize what is more important and essential in our life.
Jesus invites us today not to allow our worries and anxieties to take us over but rather to allow the Spirit to make our hearts ever welcoming and warm to God’s visits.
Hopefully, by being able to learn these attitudes of Mary and Abraham, we too shall have a true and deep encounter with the Lord who comes to bless us today. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR