for Sunday, July 17, 2016
Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. - often these words are used to justify the contemplative life, but actually they are not about that at all or at least not directly. Instead, Jesus is inviting all of us to choose the better part: Listen to Him and don't get so caught up in doing everything else!
The first reading today is from the Book of Genesis and is about hospitality and how God works in us when we receive others. This scene became famous in the icon of Rublev, and became of symbol of the Holy Trinity. We Christians should always be aware that whenever we receive anyone, we receive Christ Himself. We are happy to do that when the one we receive is not a problem! But when a guest becomes a problem, we have a real challenge to recognize Christ present.
Abraham and Sarah received these three strangers. For their goodness in receiving strangers, finally Sarah has a son, a true gift of God. Abraham is our father in faith, Sarah our mother - and their son, Isaac, continues the line of those chosen for God in a special way. Yet each of us is also chosen to give witness to our faith in God, no matter what happens.
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Colossians. Here it is clear that there is another aspect to hospitality, to receiving others, and that aspect is to accept the sufferings that come to us because in that way we fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. That is truly a strong statement! Yet, if we listen carefully to Scripture, we recognize this truth: we are one in Christ Jesus: it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
The Gospel of Luke today brings us back to the account of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary. Martha is frustrated because Mary sits and listens to Jesus while she, Martha, has to do all the work. We can wonder what would have happened had Martha simply stopped doing her work, sat down by Mary, and had listened to the Lord? That is the invitation to each of us: stop your business and be still and listen!
So all three readings today bring us back to God and the incredibly wonderful ways in which God is present in our normal daily life. God comes as stranger, God comes as Guest, God comes in suffering and God comes in being still and listening. Let us be attentive!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Genesis 18.1-10a
Second Reading: Colossians 1.24-28
Gospel: Luke 10.38-42
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: