July 17, 2022
Luke 10: 38-42
The Gospel story of Martha and Mary often reminds us of contrasts – Martha was harried and cooked/Mary was serene and listened – and this is true. But, more importantly, both Martha and Mary opened wide their home and their hearts to Jesus and most likely to several of his friends – in hospitality and with love.
In our first reading we see Abraham, as well, offering welcome, this time to strangers. It was the hottest part of the day and Abraham was escaping the heat, relaxing outside his tent and watching the passers-by in their various activities when three strangers appeared. Did they ask for anything? No. Could Abraham have closed his eyes and pretended not to see? Of course. But instead, he pleaded with them, “Do not pass your servant by,” and offered not only “a little water and a little bread”, but, with the assistance of his wife and workers, presented them with a marvelous feast for their tired, hot and hungry bodies. That was hospitality!
The call to offer assistance and welcome can sometimes come to us unexpectedly and silently and we can pretend we don’t hear. A sense of being overwhelmed with the issues and problems in our own lives and those in the world can tempt us to discouragement and weariness and can prevent us from responding generously to the needs before us. On the other hand, like Martha, Mary and Abraham, we can face these challenges by offering solace, support, caring and real action to those suffering and in need of our response to their experiences of loneliness, illness, pain, violence and hatred.
So, we pray for the wisdom and strength we need so as to be attentive and responsive as we extend our own hospitality and love to those whose needs call us to action. Amen.
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
The Gospel of the Lord.