16th Sunday or Ordinary Time (21 July 2019)
Gen 18:1-10; Col 1:24-28; Lk 10:38-42
The readings this week invite us to focus on how we respond to God and His blessings on us. God is ever-present in our lives. Are we just too busy to notice His presence in our lives? And we are aware of His presence in our lives, do we rejoice and welcome Him warmly?
The first reading is taken from Genesis. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day when he saw three men standing before him. Abraham recognized God’s presence in his visitors and despite the inhospitable weather, he responds with the best of Middle Eastern hospitality. He gave the visitors water to wash their feet and refresh themselves and then prepared some fresh bread for them. Abraham also slaughtered a young calf so a real feast could be laid before his guests. As his guests ate, Abraham stood silently waiting on them. Abraham’s attitude is one of joyful welcome coupled with humble submissiveness to His God. God blesses him richly – promising to return and to bless barren Sarah with a son.
This welcome is replayed in the Gospel reading which is the well-known passage concerning the Lord’s visit to the home of His dear friends, Martha and Mary. The sisters’ reaction to the Lord’s presence in their home is a study in contrasts. Where Martha was busily preparing food and serving her honored Guest, Mary was sitting at the Lord’s feet and simply listening to Him speak. When Martha complained about Mary, the Lord chided her and pointed her towards emulating her sister. Our welcome for God is measured ultimately by our appreciation of the tremendous privilege He bestows on us by being present in our lives. Mary clearly understood that every word that fell from the Lord’s mouth was to be treasured. We too would do so very well to treasure His words to us. While Martha undoubtedly loved the Lord deeply, her preoccupation with serving was getting in the way of her seeing the Lord.
What a privilege it is to have God speak to us; and St Paul in the second reading reminds us that this is just what we have been blessed with. St Paul writes that God has entrusted him (and the apostles) with the responsibility of delivering God’s message to the world. This is the message of the salvation that is given to us through Jesus Christ. He is our hope of glory and He is the One who makes us perfect. Do we listen to these words as Mary once did? Do we rejoice in these words and joyfully welcome Christ’s presence in our life as Abraham once did? Do we wait on the Lord submissively as we are called to?
Our God is intimately involved in our lives and He is among us. He is constantly present and He constantly watches over us. The readings this week challenge us to look for the Lord and to welcome Him in our lives; to be aware of the tremendous blessings He bestows on us and to joyfully express our gratitude in the lives we lead. The greatest blessing of all is that of our eternal salvation. We are alive and made perfect before God because of his mercy and generosity. How is our awareness of this fact reflected in the sort of lives that we lead?
Some points for reflection as you read the passages:
- In what ways do you make it a point to hear and receive the Word of God? How can you better seek God’s Word and be a doer of the Word? (See James 1:22)
- How can you better emulate Abraham in welcoming God into your life? What are the gifts you could offer to Him?
- In what ways do you think it was Mary who had chosen the better path? What aspects of Martha’s approach do you indentify with in your own life?