Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 GN 18:1-10A
Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
R.(1a) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Reading 2 COL 1:24-28
Alleluia CF. LK 8:15
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 10:38-42
Homily for Nativity on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 7/21/2019 GN 18:1-10A, COL 1:24-28, LK 10:38-42
In today’s Gospel we have a great story comparing the two mindsets and actions of Martha and Mary. On the one hand we have Martha who is busy, the Gospel says she was “burdened with much serving.” According to Jesus, she is “anxious and worried about many things.”
On the other hand, we have Mary who is not helping her sister serve, rather, she “sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.”
When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary’s choice, Jesus “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."”
This is a beautiful realization for us, in our culture which is so busy. It seems that everyone is always busy. People ask how we are and we often say, “busy”!
It is almost a badge of honor for us to say we are busy, it’s like saying we are important and lots of people depend on us, which might be true, but Jesus gives us permission here to take a break from our busyness and just be with Him, to sit at His feet and learn from Him.
Mass is a perfect time to do that. It is a set period of time where we can just put aside the busyness and burdens of serving, and rather just listen to the word of God and receive Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity. He wants us to set aside our whole day even, to take a break from our work and be with Him.
Sometimes people say they don’t get anything out of Mass, but at the very least they should get a prayerful break from the busyness of the world. Some people start every day with Mass… Did you know over one hundred people show up her every weekday for 6:30 am Mass? I didn’t even realize God was awake that early! But it’s a beautiful thing to start the day with Mass, at the foot of Jesus, it puts everything into perspective as we go about the rest of our day. That is what Jesus is saying here when he says, “There is need of only one thing.” That one thing is Him, that helps to put everything else into perspective for us.
Our goal should be to strive for a balance. It is impossible to live a life purely of prayer, even the monks and New Melleray are busy doing work for part of the day. But as disciples, we are called to both work and pray. We are called to serve at some times, and we are called to pray at some times, and we must do both.
On Saturday morning I was at the ordination Mass for eleven permanent deacons down at the Cathedral. It was a great celebration, the Mother Church was packed, and it was great to see these guys get ordained to serve the Church.
The word Deacon in ancient Greek means “servant,” so Saturday they literally got “ordained to serve.” Most deacons do not work for the Church full time, they have outside jobs and are expected to serve the Church and the people of God about 10 hours per week.
But another expectation is that they pray. Those new Deacons made a promise to pray twice a day forever for the Church, to just stop what they are doing and be with Jesus and His Church in prayer, listening to Jesus speak through the scriptures.
Martha and Mary weren’t ordained ministers, Jesus wants everyone, all of us, to take time with Him and listen to Him speak. There are many ways to do that, I believe Mass and the scriptures are the most important, but there are many other ways to hear the Lord speak to us.
The important thing is to take the time in our busy lives and spend it with Him. We are often “anxious and worried about many things” but according to Jesus, “There is need of only one thing.” I pray that we will all take Him seriously and make the time to sit with Jesus in the midst of our busy lives.