for Everyday Life
This monthly article exclusively
found on the St. Luke Parish Web site focuses on Sunday readings or liturgical season and their application to our lives.
The reflections are written by parish scripture study leaders and are typically posted the first weekend of the month.
Today’s Gospel story is a familiar one. Martha,
Mary and their brother, Lazarus, lived in the town of Bethany. Lazarus
is not mentioned in this story. Upon Jesus’ arrival, the two sisters’ reactions
differ. Martha’s first thought was hospitality and tending to Jesus’ needs. Mary, on the other hand, reacts like a true disciple and takes her place sitting at the feet of Jesus so that she could
hear every word that came from his lips. Martha complained to Jesus about
Mary’s lack of hospitality. It was not that Martha feared that she
was being overworked; she merely wanted to prepare the meal as quickly
as possible so that the visitors could sit and eat . Jesus emphasizes his
response by repeating Martha’s name twice. “Martha, Martha you are worried
and anxious about many things (v. 41).” He does not deny the importance of hospitality; but there are things of greater importance. To hear the word of God and to keep it is better than any other interest that one could have. Martha could have chosen to listen too, while
doing other tasks. Jesus defends Mary’s attitude.
The story of Martha and Mary insists that we give the Word of God our fullest attention.
If we are distracted by other concerns, keeping busy with the things of
this world, we will lose our focus. To be rooted in Christ, we need to
remain faithful to his words, found in Scripture. It is the Christ-in-us
that will thus enable us to reach out to our neighbor in need.
In this first reading,
Abraham offered immediate hospitality to three strangers. He responded as a gracious
and enthusiastic host to his visitors: he offered water for bathing of the feet and
the shade of a tree for resting. The meal he provides is like a banquet, offering a tender, choice steer and freshly baked rolls. Most likely, Abraham did not know who his visitors were, though God was going to speak to him through these messengers. God had promised
Abraham that he would be the father of a great people, though his wife, Sarah,
was beyond child-bearing years. But Abraham continued to trust in God, even though it had been twenty years since God’s promise to him had been made. Now, after many years of faithful trust in God, Abraham was given a definite guarantee that God’s promise to him would
be fulfilled. One of the visitors remarked, “I will surely return to you
about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son (v. 10).” Abraham
and Sarah’s efforts of hospitality and unfailing trust in God bore life-giving
How do we offer
hospitality in today’s world? Do we welcome the stranger or tend to the neighbor
in need? Being of service to others and faithfully trusting in God will reap just rewards beyond measure.
St. Paul is imprisoned for preaching about Jesus as he writes this letter to the faithful converts
in Colossae. Paul has no thought for his own well-being
or his suffering. In fact, he is glad to be suffering
physical torments for the sake of his faith. He views his suffering as a way of serving the Lord and proclaiming the Good News. Paul even seems to boast about his commitment to the members of the Church. He will do his part in order to benefit from what Christ
has already done for mankind. The apostle emphasizes
that each member of Christ’s body on earth (the Church) has
a part to play in reconciling the world to God. What
startling news Paul was preaching. The Gentiles had previously worshiped many different gods. Now, comes news of one God, all-powerful and all-loving, who intended that mankind should share in his happiness for all eternity. Paul longed to have
each person become a fully-formed, mature member of the
Body of Christ; thus allowing them to enter into the full measure
He extends this invitation
to all of us, also: that in knowing Christ through acceptance of our own suffering and pain, we become complete in Christ. May we pray for the gift of patient endurance to continue faithfully on our journey towards that eternal happiness.