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Mary and Martha with Jesus

HOMILY OF 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C

ALWAYS SHOW GRATUITOUS HOSPITALITY TO THE NEEDY!

First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10; Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28; Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

Hospitality is a sign of friendly service, generous reception as well as entertainment to visitors, guests, and even to strangers. This is one of the basic characteristic features Africans are well known for. Meanwhile, many decades ago, people could travel to any place within their country in search for greener pasture, without being afraid of where to pass the night, in case they couldn’t reach their destination before sunset.

Unfortunately, the reverse seems almost nowadays. One of the causative factors is the global economic meltdown, which has engendered a lot of hardships and criminality in our contemporary society. For instance, you may welcome an innocent looking guest or visitor into your house, and in the night the person may wield a gun to dispossess you of your whole life’s savings, if not your life.

Consequently, many people are now afraid to welcome unknown visitors into their homes, or to travel, even to a nearby town or state due to insecurity, as well as the hostility they may experience. But, should we refrain from hospitality because of our hardships or challenges of life or unforeseen circumstances?

In the first reading, out of compassion, Abraham offered gratuitous hospitality to strangers into his house. He begged them to wait and eat before continuing their journey. Fortunately for him, they were Angels of God, who in turn blessed him for his kind gesture. Through them God promised him a Child, and he waited patiently for that promise, which later came to pass (Genesis 12:2-3, 18:10; Hebrews 6:14). This kind of generosity shown by Abraham towards his visitors is a good example, and a sign of service to our neighbours, especially giving attention or listening ear to those passing through difficulties.

In the Gospel, Mary and Martha were very happy to welcome Jesus Christ into their house. Mary gave Jesus close attention and a listening ear, while Martha was busy with the preparation of something that Jesus would eat. At a point, Martha started complaining to Jesus that her sister Mary, had left her to do the preparation alone. In response to Martha, Jesus said that Mary has made the right choice of listening to Him, which is also a wonderful skill and gift.

Moreover, with the cross before Him and with the inner tension in His heart, Jesus Christ had turned aside to Bethany to find an oasis of calm away from the demanding crowds if only for an hour or two; and that is what Mary gave Him. He needed somebody who would give him a listening ear to talk to.

Undoubtedly, the story of Martha and Mary stresses that service, even service to Christ, cannot be separated from hearing His Word. Both of them rendered hospitable services to Jesus Christ, just like Abraham did for the strangers, despite his challenge of not having any child yet, even in his old age.

Definitely, there will be times when we must act like Martha: “giving our time, talents, material goods and financial support in the service of God and humanity.” On the other hand, there will be a period when we must act like Mary: “just being present to God in our quiet times, listening to Him through meditating the scriptures, during Holy Mass, and before the Blessed Sacrament. Also, giving listening ear to those who are really in need.

In the second reading, St Paul showed himself as a model of service to his fellow brethren. He thus exclaimed: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His body, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to His saints(Colossians 1:24-26).

Finally, God is speaking to us each day in the events of our lives. However, very often we get so busy that we do not hear Him speak to us. We miss His signs and daily messages for us in the pursuit of other priorities. Therefore, like Martha and Abraham, we are called to always show gratuitous hospitality to our neighbours. Also, just as Mary offered Jesus Christ her listening ear, we too need to give our listening ears and undivided attention to the poor and needy at all times no matter our challenges. Let us not be listeners of the Word of God only, but also doers of the Word, by rendering hospitality to people around us no matter how turbulent the challenges we are facing (James 1:22-23).

PRAYER:

May the Holy Spirit grant you the courage to always show gratuitous hospitality, and also give listening ear and undivided attention to the poor and needy at all times no matter our challenges, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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4 thoughts on “HOMILY OF 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C”

  1. Amen! Thank you padre for the teaching. I pray to God to help me demonstrate unconditional love to the needy.

  2. Amen.
    Thank you, Padre.
    I pray for God’s divine grace and enablement in Jesus’ name.
    Amen.

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