16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 (1a)
July 17, 2022
Abraham loved the Lord. Today we hear of a time when “the LORD appeared to Abraham” but Abraham did not know it was the Lord. Instead, “Abraham saw three men.”
What was Abraham’s response? As a man who loved the Lord, he also loved the people and offered hospitality to all who came near. This was the expectation but it was more than a duty to Abraham.
When he saw the three men, Abraham “ran” to greet them and showed respect to them as he bowed. He offered his hospitality with water and food. The food? It wasn’t second pickings. He “picked out a tender, choice steer” for them.
Abraham did not do this simply as a duty. He did it with faith. His hospitality did not go unnoticed when one of the men told Abraham that within a year he would have a son.
Hospitality was important in Abraham’s time and it remained important in Jesus’ time on Earth. Martha welcomed Jesus with her hospitality.
Martha wanted to provide for Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, did not help with the serving. Instead, she sat at the feet of Jesus.
This upsets Martha. Why isn’t Mary helping her? They need to offer hospitality to Jesus.
Martha felt burdened. She went to Jesus to ask him to tell Mary to help her. Martha may have been stunned when Jesus tells her that Mary has “chosen the better part.”
Is hospitality important? For “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” It is just to feed the hungry. Hospitality includes food but it also includes being present to the person. Looking beyond basic hospitality, today’s psalm speaks of justice as keeping the truth in our heart, not slandering, or harming, and providing with charity (not charging interest) to those in need.
Martha was right to be considered about hospitality. Perhaps she just took it legalistic. Jesus was in her house! She should spend some time with him. Do you spend time with your guests or do you feed them and send them on their way?
What had Jesus said to Martha? “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”
Are you anxious? What do you worry about? Do you try to fix everything? Do we feel like we have too much to do?
The Lord wants us to be concerned about others but not at the expense of having peace in our hearts. When we feel like we have too much to do, we are to give it to the Lord. Say to the Lord, I feel like I can’t do it all. Then let the Lord tell you what you are supposed to do.
If we worry too much about things, the worry itself becomes a burden. It may pull us away from prayer, from spending time with Jesus. What we need is both prayer and work.
St. Benedict left his secular life for a life of prayer but he knew that the monks still needed to work. The Rule of St. Benedict seeks a balance in daily routine of prayer and work. We ask the Lord to help us find the proper balance of prayer and work.
What keeps us from prayer? Is it important?
When it comes to work, we need to ask ourselves what work (how much) is God calling us to versus what/how much work do we feel pressured to do in this world to look good to others. How much of our work is trying to make others happy? How much of our work is because we set too high a standard of living such that we must work so much that we don’t have time for God?
Will we feel burdened at times? Yes. Suffering is real and it can have redemptive value when offered in the Lord’s name for the good of others. This is the type of suffering that Paul rejoices in.
Does this mean that we should go looking for suffering? No. When suffering comes our way, we place it before the Lord and ask him to guide us. We ask the Lord to help us know what work we are to do and when we are to pray.