16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 21/07/2019

During this week let us open our hearts to Christ, our welcome guest. With our faith and our love, let us receive Christ our friend. In our First Reading from Genesis, Abraham gives us the wonderful example of hospitality. He does not hesitate to offer comfort and food to the strangers because he recognizes God in them. He is then rewarded with the promise of a son.

The Psalmist acknowledges that we are the guests in the Lord’s house. What readiness might we have to dwell in his house? St Paul, urges us to welcome Christ’s suffering; ‘the mystery of Christ among us’ and ‘our hope of glory’.

The Gospel resonates with the socio-cultural traditional norms. In most African cultures and particularly in Kenya, houses at homes have male spaces and female spaces. Kitchen specifically is a women space in my culture. Women meet and discuss their issues at the kitchen area and other unknown parts of the kitchen. Men have their public spaces in the house that they meet and discuss their issues. This was true for Jews in the Middle Eastern cultures even until today. But in the western culture this may sound strange. Now, in the Gospel we find Mary who has crossed that boundary (Cultural boundary) and she is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to him. Martha is very conscious of this boundary that Mary has crossed and she is complaining. But Jesus says Mary has chosen the better part.

We might want to ask ourselves, is what Martha doing important? What is this important part that Mary has chosen? Mary has chosen to become a disciple by listening. This was a typical characteristic of a learner who wants to be a disciple in the Ancient Middle East culture. What Martha is doing is equally important because she is putting the word into service. But the way she is doing it, is wrong. Why? She is serving with worries and anxiety whereas Mary has given her entire being to the person of Christ. Our real hospitality is to offer our whole self to Christ without being distracted by the duties and responsibilities of service. We must always try to balance our Christian life between listening and doing; Word and action are necessary for an authentic Christian life. This applies more even to an ordained minister and reminds us of the Good Samaritan of last Sunday’s Gospel who practiced the Gospel of Love and compassion. The Good Samaritan did all this without worries and anxieties. Are there leaders in your faith community giving services but are full of worries and anxieties? Are these leaders feeling as if they are giving more than others? Are they wearied out? Are you experiencing a burnout in your ministry?

Lesson this week: To be a disciple of Jesus we must learn to listen and put the word into service/ action.

Christian Action This Week:   May we welcome God’s word this week and ponder it. It will dispel our worries and we shall put it into action through hospitality and others ways.

Joy and Peace

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