(16th Ordinary Sunday: Genesis 18:1-10; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42)
In the spirit of Mary’s words, “Come closer, children, don’t be afraid,” we welcome you once again to our weekly reflection. Make yourself at home.
Abraham, in the first reading, is a model of hospitality. He ran to meet the Lord and his companions, made them comfortable, and provided a festive meal. In our experience, aren’t food and drink almost always part of special events?
In Matthew 25, Jesus stressed the importance of meeting the needs of others, starting with food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty. And remember that he washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper, and gave them precious food and drink which we gratefully continue to receive to this day.
As reconcilers, we are also aware of the spiritual works of mercy, as we strive to help people understand the truth of God’s mercy and love, and his desire to draw us to himself. This requires a welcoming spirit on our part, patiently guiding, instructing, comforting, admonishing, etc. It helps if we can put ourselves in the place of the persons we reach out to.
As St. Paul describes himself in the second reading, we too are ministers, stewards of a grace which we are eager to share. We do so together at times, in a common effort. But as each of us is unique, we need to adapt our service to our own personality and gifts.
Here, Martha and Mary in the gospel are excellent examples. According to the gospel of John, Jesus was a regular guest in their home. We mustn’t think that Martha never listened to Jesus or Mary never helped with the serving. On this occasion, however, they demonstrated equal hospitality in different ways.
Someone had to make sure a meal was prepared. Martha assumed that responsibility.
Someone had to make Jesus feel welcome by being attentive to him in another way. It is unlikely that Mary was the only person sitting there and listening to him speak, but Jesus acknowledged that her presence was the right choice. It mattered to him.
The Beautiful Lady addressed the spiritual and material needs of her beloved people. But first she had to invite the children to come to her. To accomplish our ministry, we need to do the same.
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse