Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 07-21-13, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Posted on 07/20/2013 7:46:35 PM PDT by Salvation
July 21, 2013
Reading 1 Gn 18:1-10a
The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”
Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.
They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
R. (1a) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
One who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Reading 2 Col 1:24-28
Brothers and sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Gospel Lk 10:38-42
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.
I found this reflection from Navarre. Still searching on the First and Second Readings.
From: Luke 10:38-42
Martha and Mary Welcome Our Lord
 Now as they went on their way, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman
named Martha received Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Ma-
ry, who sat at the Lords feet and listened to His teaching.  But Martha was
distracted with much serving; and she went to Him and said, Lord, do You not
care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. 
But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled a-
bout many things;  one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good position,
which shall not be taken away from her.
38-42. Our Lord was heading for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and His journey took Him
through Bethany, the village where Lazarus, Martha and Mary liveda family for
whom He had a special affection, as we see in other passages of the Gospel (cf.
John 11:1-14; 12:1-9).
St. Augustine comments on this scene as follows: Martha, who was arranging
and preparing the Lords meal, was busy doing many things, whereas Mary pre-
ferred to find her meal in what the Lord was saying. In a way she deserted her
sister, who was very busy, and sat herself down at Jesus feet and just listened
to His words. She was faithfully obeying what the Psalm said: Be still and know
that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Martha was getting annoyed, Mary was feasting;
the former coping with many things, the latter concentrating on one. Both occu-
pations were good (Sermon, 103).
Martha has come to be, as it were, the symbol of the active life, and Mary that
of the contemplative life. However, for most Christians, called as they are to
sanctify themselves in the middle of the world, action and contemplation cannot
be regarded as two opposite ways of practising the Christian faith: an active life
forgetful of union with God is useless and barren; but an apparent life of prayer
which shows no concern for apostolate and the sanctification of ordinary things
also fails to please God. The key lies in being able to combine these two lives,
without either harming the other. Close union between action and contemplation
can be achieved in very different ways, depending on the specific vocation each
person is given by God.
Far from being an obstacle, work should be a means and an occasion for a
close relationship with our Lord, which is the most important thing in our life.
Following this teaching of the Lord, the ordinary Christian should strive to attain
an integrated lifean intense life of piety and external activity, orientated towards
God, practised out of love for Him and with an upright intention, which expresses
itself in apostolate, in everyday work, in doing the duties of ones state in life.
You must understand now more clearly that God is calling you to serve Him in
and from the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for
us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating room, in the army barracks, in
the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and
in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something
holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to
each of you to discover it [...]. There is no other way. Either we learn to find our
Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can
tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occur-
rences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them
to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualize them, turning them into a
means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ (St. J. Es-
criva, Conversations, 114).
Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
First Reading: From: Genesis 18:1-10a
The Apparition of God at Mamre
 And the Lord appeared to him (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.  He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, "My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.  Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree,  while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on--since you have come to your servant." So they said, "Do as you have said."  And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.  And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.  Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
Isaac's Birth is Promised
 They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." [10a] The Lord said, "I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son."
18:1-19:38. These two episodes--God's appearance to Abraham at Mamre and the destruction of Sodom--form a single account. Once again we can see the sort of relationship that obtains between God and Abraham; this time, what is emphasized is not just the promise of a son for Sarah, but also the patriarch's intercession on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. This intercession saves Lot and his family (cf. 19:29). Thus, Abraham is already a blessing for all the descendants of Lot. This narrative is quite colorful, and includes some curious little details--making it one of the most popular passages in the story of the patriarchs.
18:1-15. This new appearance of God to Abraham is somewhat mysterious: the three men stand for God. When Abraham speaks to them, sometimes he addresses them in the singular (as if there were one person there: cf. v. 3), and sometimes in the plural (as if there were three: cf. v. 4). That is why some Fathers interpreted this appearance as an early announcement of the mystery of the Holy Trinity; others, following Jewish tradition (cf. Heb 13:2) take these personages to be angels. The sacred text says that one of the three men (Yahweh, apparently) stays with Abraham (cf. v. 22), while the other two, who are referred to as angels, go to Sodom (cf. 19:1). Although the early chapters of Genesis do not expressly talk about the creation of angels, that creation can be read into the word "heavens" in Gen 1:1: "at the beginning of time, God created out of nothing both types of creatures, spiritual and corporeal, that is, angelic and earthly," says Lateran Council IV ("De Fide Catolica"). In Holy Scripture angels are mentioned as being servants and messengers of God, and, despite the way they are sometimes described, such as in this passage, they should be understood as being purely spiritual, personal and immortal creatures, endowed with intelligence and will. "Angels have been present since creation (cf. Job 38:7, where the angels are called 'sons of God') and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise (cf. Gen 3:24); protected Lot (cf. Gen 19); saved Hagar and her child (cf. Gen 21:17); stayed Abraham's hand (cf. Gen 22.11); communicated the law by their ministry (cf. Acts 7:53); led the people of God (cf. Ex 23:20-23); announced births (cf. Judg 13) and callings (cf. Judg 6:11-24; Is 6:6); and assisted the prophets (cf. 1 Kings 19:5), just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself (cf. Lk 1:11-26)" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church", 332).
In the general context of Genesis, this episode points up the new situation created by the Covenant. God speaks to Abraham directly, as he spoke to Adam before he committed sin. Abraham, for his part, receives God through his hospitality, and God again promises that Sarah will have a son (now specifying when the child will be born). "Because Abraham believed in God and walked in his presence and in covenant with him (cf. Gen 15:6; 17:1-2), the patriarch is ready to welcome a mysterious Guest into his tent. Abraham's remarkable hospitality at Mamre foreshadows the annunciation of the true Son of the promise (cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38). After that, once God has confided his plan, Abraham's heart is attuned to his Lord's compassion for men and he dares to intercede for them with bold confidence (cf. Gen 18:16-33)" (ibid., 2571).
18:6. The measure mentioned here, a "seah" (pl. "seim") is a measure of dry grain (cf. 1 Sam 25:18; 2 Kings 7:1, 16, 18) which was probably a third of an ephah, that is, about seven liters or two gallons.
18:10. "In the spring"; this could also be translated as "next year". Literally, "the time of life", which some interpret as "the time of a woman's pregnancy", that is, nine months.
Second Reading: From: Colossians 1:242:3
St. Paul's Response to His Calling
 Now I (Paul) rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, 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.  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.
24. Jesus Christ our Lord perfectly accomplished the work the Father gave Him to do (cf. John 17:4); as He said Himself when He was about to die, "It is finished", it is accomplished (John 19:30).
From the point onwards objective redemption is an accomplished fact. All men have been saved by the redemptive death of Christ. However, St. Paul says that he completes in his flesh "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions"; what does he mean by this? The most common explanation of this statement is summarized by St. Alphonsus as follows: "Can it be that Christ's passion alone was insufficient to save us? It left nothing more to be done, it was entirely sufficient to save all men. However, for the merits of the Passion to be applied to us, according to St. Thomas ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 49, a. 3), we need to cooperate (subjective redemption) by patiently bearing the trials God sends us, so as to become like our Head, Christ" (St. Alphonsus, "Thoughts on the Passion", 10).
St. Paul is applying this truth to himself. Jesus Christ worked and strove in all kinds of ways to communicate His message of salvation, and then He accomplished the redemption by dying on the Cross. The Apostle is mindful of the Master's teaching and so he follows in His footsteps (cf. 1 Peter 2:21), takes up his cross (cf. Matthew 10:38) and continues the task of bringing Christ's teaching to all men.
Faith in the fact that we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, [Pope] John Paul II says, gives a person "the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of Redemption HE IS SERVING, like Christ, THE SALVATION OF HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Therefore he is carrying out an irreplaceable service. In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ's sacrifice that is THE IRREPLACEABLE MEDIATOR AND AUTHOR OF THE GOOD THINGS which are indispensable for the world's salvation. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the force of the Redemption" ("Salvifici Doloris", 27).
26-27. The "mystery", now revealed, is God's eternal plan to give salvation to men, both Jews and Gentiles, making all without distinction co-heirs of glory and members of a single body which is the Church (cf. Ephesians 3:6), through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 16:25-26).
In Christ, who has brought salvation to Gentile and Jew, the "mystery" is fully revealed. His presence in Christians of Gentile origin is in fact a very clear manifestation of the supernatural fruitfulness of the "mystery" and an additional ground for Christians' hope. Thanks to this presence people who do not form part of Israel are enable to attain salvation. Previously subject to the power of darkness and slaves of sin (verses 13-14), they have now died to sin through Baptism (cf. Romans 6:2-3) and Christ, through grace, dwells in their hearts (on the salvific "mystery", cf. notes on Ephesians 1:13-14 and Ephesians 1:9, and "Introduction to the Letters of St. Paul" in "The Navarre Bible: Romans and Galatians", pages 32-33).
In His infinite love Christ lives in us through faith and grace, through prayer and the Sacraments. Also, "He is present when the Church prays and sings, for He has promised `where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matthew 18:20)" (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 7).
"Christ stays in His Church, its Sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching--in all that it does. In a special way Christ stays with us in the daily offering of the Blessed Eucharist [...]. The presence of Christ in the host is the guarantee, the source and the culmination of His presence in the world.
"Christ is alive in Christians". Our faith teaches that man, in the state of grace, is divinized--filled with God. We are men and women, not angels. We are flesh and blood, people with sentiments and passions, with sorrows and joys. And this divinization affects everything human; it is a sort of foretaste of the final resurrection" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 102-103).
28: "In all wisdom": St. Paul is exhorting and teaching each and every one, communicating wisdom, the true teaching of Jesus Christ. The text clearly shows St. Paul's conviction that he is a faithful transmitter of teachings revealed by God. Possessed of such wisdom he is confident that he can lead his disciples to Christian perfection.
Thanks, fidelis. I finally found the Second reading in a September posting......it was a little more than what was here, but oh, well!
Bless you for your efforts.
Genesis 18:1-10 ©
The Lord appeared to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and bowed to the ground. ‘My lord,’ he said ‘I beg you, if I find favour with you, kindly do not pass your servant by. A little water shall be brought; you shall wash your feet and lie down under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you shall refresh yourselves before going further. That is why you have come in your servant’s direction.’ They replied, ‘Do as you say.’
Abraham hastened to the tent to find Sarah.’ ‘Hurry,’ he said ‘knead three bushels of flour and make loaves.’ Then running to the cattle Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking cream, milk and the calf he had prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.
‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘She is in the tent’ he replied. Then his guest said, ‘I shall visit you again next year without fail, and your wife will then have a son.’
Psalm 14:2-5 ©
The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart.
The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
He who does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbour,
who holds the godless in disdain,
but honours those who fear the Lord.
The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
He who keeps his pledge, come what may;
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever.
The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
Colossians 1:24-28 ©
It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ.
Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.
Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves
and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Luke 10:38-42 ©
Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.
Francis "Lights" Up Pope's First Encyclical Due Friday
Pope: Homily at Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day [full text]
Adoration with Pope energizing Catholics worldwide
Parishes Worldwide Prepare for Eucharistic Adoration Hour (June 2 at 11 am ET)
Pope [Francis] at Pentecost: Newness, harmony and mission
Audience: Do not be part-time Christians
Pope Francis: Regina caeli
Pope to welcome 70,000 youths, confirm 44 (this Sunday) [Catholic Caucus]
Pope Francis General Audience focused on women. Feminists arent going to be happy
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's "Letter On the Year of Faith" (Crossing Threshold of Faith)
Pope Francis the real deal has Audience with Cardinals
Benedict XVI's Final General Audience
On Ash Wednesday
On God As Creator of Heaven and Earth
On Abraham's Faith
On Christ As Mediator Between God and Man
On the Incarnation
On God the Almighty Father
Year of Faith: Indulgences and Places of Pilgrimage [Ecumenical]
On the Identity of Jesus
On the Faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon (Catholic Caucus)
On The Unfolding of God's Self-Revelation
On the Beauty of God's Plan of Salvation
On Bearing Witness to the Christian Faith
On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced
On the Desire for God
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On the Nature of Faith
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ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith
Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
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Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
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The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith
Jesus, High Priest
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.
Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.
Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.
Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.
O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.
Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priestsThis icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.
The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.
The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.
Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem. He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.
St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.
1. Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. The Apostles Creed: I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
3. The Lord's Prayer: OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
4. (3) Hail Mary: HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)
5. Glory Be: GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer. Repeat the process with each mystery.
End with the Hail Holy Queen:
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Final step -- The Sign of the Cross
The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:
"Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8"
PLEASE JOIN US -
A Prayer for PriestsO my God, help those priests who are faithful to remain faithful; to those who are falling, stretch forth Your Divine Hand that they may grasp it as their support. In the great ocean of Your mercy, lift those poor unfortunate ones who have fallen, that being engulfed therein they may receive the grace to return to Your Great Loving Heart. Amen. Precious Blood of Jesus, protect them!
The Most Precious Blood of Jesus
July is traditionally associated with the Precious Blood of Our Lord. It may be customary to celebrate the votive Mass of the Precious Blood on July 1.
The extraordinary importance of the saving Blood of Christ has ensured a central place for its memorial in the celebration of this cultic mystery: at the centre of the Eucharistic assembly, in which the Church raises up to God in thanksgiving "the cup of blessing" (1 Cor 10, 16; cf Ps 115-116, 13) and offers it to the faithful as a "real communion with the Blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10, 16); and throughout the Liturgical Year. The Church celebrates the saving Blood of Christ not only on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also on many other occasions, such that the cultic remembrance of the Blood of our redemption (cf 1 Pt 1, 18) pervades the entire Liturgical Year. Hence, at Vespers during Christmastide, the Church, addressing Christ, sings: "Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo redempti sumus sanguine, ob diem natalis tui hymnum novum concinimus." In the Paschal Triduum, the redemptive significance and efficacy of the Blood of Christ is continuously recalled in adoration. During the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday the Church sings the hymn: "Mite corpus perforatur, sanguis unde profluit; terra, pontus, astra, mundus quo lavanturflumine", and again on Easter Sunday, "Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roesum gustando, Deo vivimus (194).
Devotion to the Drops of Blood Lost by our Lord Jesus Christ on His Way to Calvary (Prayer/Devotion)
Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
Catholic Word of the Day: PRECIOUS BLOOD, 12-03-11
The Traditional Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Catholic Caucus)
Devotion to the Precious Blood
DOCTRINE OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,And More on the Precious Blood
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
NOTHING IS MORE POTENT AGAINST EVIL THAN PLEADING THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
World Youth Day. That World Youth Day in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.
Asia. That throughout Asia doors may be open to messengers of the Gospel.
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
Commentary of the day
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
Commentary on Saint Luke's Gospel, 7, 85-86 ; SC 52
Martha and Mary are welcoming the Wisdom of God together (1Co 1,24)
Virtue does not only have one face. Martha and Mary's example shows us active devotion in the works of the former and a heart's devout attention to the word of God in the latter. If this attentiveness is joined to a deep faith, it is to be preferred to works: “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her.” Let us then, too, try hard to gain possession of what no one will be able to take away from us, not by giving a distracted but an attentive ear, for it can happen that even the seed of the heavenly word can be carried off if it is sown along the path (Lk 8,5.12).
So be moved by a desire for wisdom, as Mary was: this is a greater and more perfect work. Do not let the cares of serving prevent you from welcoming the word from heaven. Do not criticize or judge to be lazy those you see to be occupied in gaining wisdom, for Solomon, that man of peace, invited it into his home to stay with him (Wsd 9,10). However, it is not a question of blaming Martha for her kind service: Mary is to be preferred because she has chosen the better part. Jesus has all kinds of treasures and he distributes them widely. The wiser of the women recognized and chose what is of more value.
The apostles also considered it was preferable not to abandon the word of God to serve at table (Acts 6,2). But both are works of wisdom: Stephen was chosen to be a servant, as a deacon, and he was full of wisdom (Acts 6,5.8)... Indeed, the body of the Church is one and if her members are many, they need each other: “The eye cannot say to the hand: I have no need of you, nor the head say to the feet: I have no need of you” (1Cor 12,21)... If some members are more important, the others are necessary nonetheless. Wisdom dwells in the head, activity in the hands.
Mary's Hospitality Is Not Idleness But Love
1) Mary’s hospitality was not dictated by laziness but by love.
Not only Martha but also Mary “did” something for Christ. In fact she has chosen the best way “to do”.
Let’s proceed in order.
The first reading and the Gospel of today’s Roman Rite show an event where hospitality is practiced: Abraham’s way of hospitality, that I consider not too different from that one of Martha, and the way of Mary, Martha’s younger sister.
Abraham and Martha both go out of their way to be good hosts and to welcome the person, who has arrived. However the joy of the Lord’s visit becomes “exertion” for Martha and “perplexity” for Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of this Father of the Faith. He earned the honor to see God in human form and to welcome Him as his guest because he had offered himself to God and had welcomed Him. “He was lifted up to Him because he believed that men couldn’t be oriented to anything else, but considered every one of them as all and all as one.” The given hospitality was transformed into the desired fecundity: “I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah, your wife, will then have a son” (Gn 18:10). After 25 years waiting Abraham and Sarah could say: “We have blossomed as a new people and we have germinated like new and prosperous spikes”.
Let’s put ourselves in Martha’s shoes. She is happy because Jesus arrives in her home. Together with Jesus also Peter, James, John, even Judas and perhaps also the women who were his followers arrive. For this reason the initial smile with which she welcomes Jesus becomes a grimace of nervousness as more people enter. Martha loses her patience towards her sister Mary because she is not helping, and even loses it with the Lord.
The problem of our life is that in welcoming the other (and there is always another to welcome) we don’t let ourselves be embraced by the One that engenders and loves us. The problem, and I should say the sin, is that we keep away from the One who engenders us loving us. All the exertion, all the sadness, all the anger and the waste of energy come from the fact that, like Martha, we are defined more by the things to do for the Host than by the relationship with the Loved One who knocks at the door of our heart and not only at the door of our house.
Let’s put ourselves in Mary’s shoes now. She lives Jesus’ coming into her house not with a particular inclination, but with the dimension typical of every Christian that cares for his friendship with Christ.
What does this “contemplative” do? She sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him. I think however that before this, she had first washed his feet. She had already done so in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, utilizing a very expensive ointment. Surely she did it also in her house for the brotherly friend who had forgiven her giving back her dignity and life, and that had his feet dusty from the journey.
Martha embodies a typical feminine attitude towards the guest (at least according to the mentality of those times) being busy setting the table, however we can see that there is already something new in this event. For us it is normal that the lady of the house welcomes the guest; it was not so at that time. The woman could not welcome the guest because the owner of the house was the man (we know that it was Lazarus’ house, her brother). The evangelist Luke insists that it was woman who welcomed Jesus. On the other hand the first person who “welcomed” the Word of God was a woman: the Virgin Mary.
Mary goes further than her sister Martha. She engages herself with the guest taking on a position that was reserved to men. Moreover in sitting at the Teacher’s feet to listen to him Mary takes on the typical position of the disciple. This is also a novelty. Rabbis didn’t accept women as followers and only men could become disciples. For Jesus it is not so. The women too are called to be listeners and disciples.
2) The school of the Word
The disciple (from the Latin verb discere = to learn) goes to school for learning. In the school of the Word made flesh he learns that the first service to be done to God -at to all- is to listen. It is from listening not from doing that the relationship begins. When the word becomes look then there is contemplation.
Maybe in one hundred years they will recognize that the greatest revolution of modern times has been made by the tiny Mother Theresa of Calcutta. That is not for what she has done or made people do (it was - as she used to say- a small drop in the desert of the huge poverty of the world) but for the look with which, starting from the contemplation of Jesus, she has looked at men, at every man from the poorest to the most powerful. What counts is to listen to the Lord and to his words as the prophet Jeremiah did: “When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts” (Jer 15:16).
The Father said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; Listen to him” (Mt 17:5, Mk 9:6; Lk 9:35): “listen” to Jesus and you will become Jesus in listening.
This is the attitude of the bride. The bride is the one that welcomes the Word that is the groom. The mission of every man is to be the bride of God, the one who listens and welcomes the Word, seed that transforms us to his image and alikeness.
Man is man because he listens and becomes the Word that he listens. If he listens to God, he becomes God. He understands God not as a concept, but as a presence that changes spiritually and physically the life and the body as it has happened to the Virgin Mary in whom the apex of humanity is represented.
Listening to God for us means to understand Him, to conceive Him, to let Him come and stay in us. Human hospitality is to let that the others dwell in us. Christian hospitality is to make the Other and the others dwell in us. I think that it is for this reason that Saint Benedict has strongly “imposed” hospitality to his monks.
Finally we must remember that when Jesus in a brotherly way scolds Martha, saying that she is busy for too many things, he doesn’t criticize the preparing of the meal, but the stress. He doesn’t question the generous heart of Martha, but the anxiety. The words with which Jesus answers to Martha remind us that the service must not hassle us to the point of forgetting to listen: “Martha, Martha you are anxious and worried about many things.” To enclose these words of Jesus in the perspective of the active life in the world (Martha) and of the contemplative life of the cloister (Mary) means to change them. The perspective is wider and touches two attitudes that must be part of the life of every disciple: to listen and to serve. The tension is not between listening and serving but between listening and a diverting service. Martha is so busy serving the guest that she has no time to entertain him. An old rabbi speaking of a colleague used to say: “He is so busy in speaking to God that he has forgotten that He exists”.
If we too will sit at Christ’s feet we will learn the most important thing: love. Love is not only the best part; it is the good one because it discerns the superfluous from the necessary and the fallacious from the eternal. God “acts” loving and we must “do” the same.
The consecrated Virgins are of example to us. With their dedication they indicate to us the truth of the following biblical sentence: “I will betroth you for me forever; I will betroth you to me with justice and with judgment, with loyalty and with compassion; I will betroth you to me with fidelity and you shall know the Lord” ( Hos 2:21-22). To the question of today’s Gospel in the Ambrosian Rite “Who is God for me?” they answer:” He is my groom”. In this way these women renew their “yes” said on the day of their consecration: “Do you want to be consecrated to Jesus Christ, Son of God the Highest, and to acknowledge Him as your groom?” “Yes, I do want it” (Rite of the Consecration of the Virgins, n. 14).
Let’s pray: “Allow us Lord to love you and to receive as a gift You who are the Love, and give us the gift to do well so that we make of our life a praise to You” (This is one of the invocations of Monday’s Lauds of the second week).
 Saint Maxim the Confessor, Ep 2, page 91:400.
 Saint Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 119.
 See Rule of Saint Benedict. As a patristic reading here below I’m proposing Chapter 53 on hospitality.
In this Sundays Gospel, Martha is busy serving the Lord while her sister, Mary, delights in the presence of Jesus. Martha came to Jesus and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me. Marthas lament seems perfectly reasonable, but she does not receive the expected response. 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.
Thus begins the great tradition in the church favoring the contemplative life over the active life, a preference that at first glance does not seem quite fair.
The contemplative life most certainly is not restricted to religious orders but for purposes here, the example of contemplative religious orders provides a useful contrast. Contemplative orders (such as the Poor Clares and the Linden Dominicans in our diocese) after all, depend upon the wider church for their support. Bishops and pastors are very active in managing their respective dioceses and parishes. They collect the hard-earned contributions from the faithful who, in the main, not only support their families by their work, but the church and the churchs apostolates as well. In the grand scheme, it seems the active life should have pride and place the better part over contemplatives because the contemplative life, in large part, is supported by the hard work of benefactors.
It is helpful, however, to consider the nature of the better part of contemplation. Perhaps we are suspicious of the superiority of contemplation because we are all too familiar with its counterfeits: the vice of sloth and its close relative, boredom.
Boredom leads to the abuse of leisure time. Indeed boredom underlies a good deal of contemporary frantic activity. A bored child or an adult fixated on nonstop television may seem to be in a kind of contemplation. Tweeting and texting and surfing the Net are often means to dislodge boredom from our lives. Even the work we do is, in some instances, needless escapism from minds dulled by boredom. (There may be some virtue in keeping busy as a foil to boredom, just as recreation may be desirable, but these time-fillers fall short of contemplation.) True contemplation is not boring nor is it abusive of the gift of leisure.
Boredom can devolve into sloth. Sloth is the vice that wastes time that should be spent productively. And sloth can easily lead to grave sin. In the Old Testament, David, after taking the throne, rested on the laurels from his impressive exploits. The sacred writer in wonderful understatement describes King Davids sloth: Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem (2 Sm 11:1). In short order, David became a phony contemplative: Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the kings house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance (2 Sm 11:2).
Davids sin of sloth led to the sin of adultery: David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her (2 Sm 11:3). The rest of this Old Testament account describes a shocking descent into evil, the murder of the womans lawful husband to cover Davids crime and the killing of Davids conscience until the prophet Nathan confronts him with his famous Thou art the man! indictment. Sloth is a vice that has many companion vices.
Contemplation, however, is never slothful.
In this Sundays Gospel, a brief phrase identifies the essence of contemplation: Mary sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. The purpose of contemplation is to listen attentively to the Lord. This is not the stuff of boredom; nor is it the stuff of sloth. In a real sense, contemplation is hard work where the mind and heart are totally engaged in listening to and conversing with Christ. In addition, contemplation might be perfectly compatible with the active life. Mothers know that one's deepest prayer might occur while rocking the baby or stirring the pudding, or pulling weeds (or twiddling a rosary) any physical activity that leaves the mind completely free. And that includes cooking. One wonders if Martha would have suffered the same gentle rebuke if she invited Mary and Jesus to join her in peeling potatoes as they conversed.
Still, for the most part contemplation needs the gift of leisure time. But leisure time is not free. It must be purchased by the work of our hands or the work of others (six days of the week, according to the Bible). Hence, contemplation in no way denigrates the active life that provides for the possibility of holy leisure time (the Sabbath). But contemplation is the proper use of leisure time. As the better part of our lives, true contemplation uplifts, directs and purifies all human endeavors.
Most of our willful distractions are vain attempts to fill emptiness in our lives that can only be filled with prayerful contemplation and conversation with God. It is a sign of our fallen nature that we need a commandment to make room for contemplation: Keep holy the Sabbath. But the mature Christian no longer needs a decree to enter into conversation with God. A mature Christian habitually orders his life for the better part of listening to the Lord in private prayer and, above all, in the sacred liturgy.
Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Church in Annandale.
Year C- 16th Sunday in Ordinary time
Only one thing is necessary.Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary
Today’s Gospel at Mass is the very familiar one of Martha and Mary. Martha is the anxious worker seeking to please the Lord with a good meal and hospitality. Mary sits quietly at his feet and listens. One has come to be the image of work, the other of prayer.
Misinterpreted? In my fifty-two years I have heard many a sermon that interpreted this Gospel passage as a call for a proper balance between work and prayer. Some have gone on to state that we all need a little of Martha and Mary in us and that the Church needs both Marthas and Marys.
But in the end it seems that such a conclusion misses the central point of this passage. Jesus does not conclude by saying, “Martha, Now do your thing and let Mary do hers.” He describes Mary as not only choosing the better part but also as doing the “one thing necessary.” This does not amount to a call for “proper balance” but instead underscores the radical priority and primacy of prayer. This, it would seem is the proper interpretive key for what is being taught here. Many other passages of the Scripture do set forth the need to be rich in works of charity but this is not one of them.
With that in mind let’s take a look at the details of the Lord’s teaching today on the Priority of Personal Prayer.
I. PROMISING PRELUDE - Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. Our story begins by showing Martha in a very favorable light. She opens her door, her life, if you will, and welcomes Jesus. This is at the heart of faith, a welcoming of Jesus into the home of our heart and life. Surely Revelation 3:20 comes to mind here: Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.
While we acknowledge this promising prelude we ought also to underscore the fact that the initiative is that of Jesus. The text says Jesus entered a village…. In the call of faith the initiative is always with God. It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you (Jn 15:16) Hence, while we must welcome Him, God leads. Martha hears the Lord’s call and responds. So far so good.
What happens next isn’t exactly clear but the impression is that Martha goes right to work. There is no evidence that Jesus asked for a meal from her, large or small. The text from Revelation just quoted does suggest that the Lord seeks to dine with us, but implies that it is he who will provide the meal. Surely the Eucharistic context of our faith emphasizes that it is the Lord who feeds us with his Word and with his Body and Blood.
At any rate, Martha seems to have told the Lord to make himself comfortable and has gone off to work in preparing a meal of her own. That she later experiences it to be such a burden is evidence that her idea emerged more from her flesh than the Spirit.
II. PORTRAIT OF PRAYER - She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Now here is a beautiful portrait of prayer: to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen.
Many people think of prayer as something that is said. But prayer is better understood as a conversation, and conversations include listening. Vocal prayer, intercessory prayer and the like are all noble and important but the prayer of listening is too often neglected.
Prayer is not just telling God what we want, it is discovering what He wills. We have to sit humbly and listen. We must learn to listen, and listen to learn. We listen by devoutly and slowing considering scripture (lectio divina), and by pondering how God is speaking in the events and people in our life, how God is whispering in our conscience and soul.
Jesus calls this kind of prayer “the one thing necessary” as we shall see. What Mary models and Martha forgets is that we must first come (to Jesus) then go (and do what he says)….that we must first receive, before we can achieve…..that we must first be blessed before we can do our best……that we must listen before we leap into action.
III. PERTURBED and PRESUMPTUOUS - 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.” – And so, sure enough Martha who is laboring in the flesh, but not likely in the Spirit and in accord with the Lord’s wishes, is now experiencing the whole thing as a burden. She blames her sister for all this but the Lord’s response will make it clear that this is not Mary’s issue.
One sign that we are not in God’s will is the experiencing of what we are doing as a burden. We are all limited and human and will experience ordinary fatigue. It is one thing to be weary in the work but it is another thing to be weary of the work.
A lot of people run off to do something they think is a good idea. And maybe it is a fine thing in itself. But they never asked God. God might have said, “Fine.” or He might have said, “Not now, but later.” Or He might have said, “Not you but some one else.” Or he might have just plain said, “No.” But instead of asking they just go off and do it and then when things don’t work out will often times blame God: “Why don’t you help me more!”
And so Martha is burdened. She first blames her sister. Then she presumes the Lord does not care about what is (to her) an obvious injustice. Then she takes presumption one step further and presumes to tell the Lord what to do: “Tell her to help me.”
This is what happens when we try to serve the Lord in the flesh. Instead of being true servants who listen to the Lord’s wishes and carry them out by his grace, we end up as angry and mildly (or not) dictatorial. She here is Martha, with her one hand on her hip and her index finger in the air Jesus will be kind with her but firm.
IV. PRESCRIBED PRIORITY - 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. Now don’t let the Lord have to call you by your name twice! But it is clear the Lord wants her attention and that she has stumbled on a fatal mistake that we all can too easily make. She lept before she listened.
The Lord observes and says that she is anxious about many things. Anxiety about many things comes from neglect of the one thing most necessary: to sit at the feet of the Lord and listen to him.
In life, the Lord will surely have things for us to do but they need to come from him. This is why prayer is the “one thing” necessary and the better part: because work flows from it and is subordinate to it.
Discernment is not easy but it is necessary. An awful lot of very noble ideas have floundered in the field of the flesh because they were never really brought before God and were not therefore a work of grace.
Jesus does not mean that ALL we are to do is pray. There are too many other Gospels that summon us to labor in the vineyard to say that. But what Jesus is very clear to say is that prayer and discernment have absolute priority. Otherwise expect to be anxious about many things and have little to show for it.
Scripture makes it clear that God must be the author and initiator of our works: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10).
And old prayer from the Roman Ritual also makes this plain: Actiones nostras, quaesumus Domine, aspirando praeveni et adiuvando prosequere: ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat, et per te coepta finiatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum (Direct we beseech Thee, O Lord, our prayers and our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance, so that every work of ours may always begin with Thee, and through Thee be ended). Amen
This song reminds that when we really ARE working in the Lord’s will and as the fruit of prayer we love what we do and do so with joy. This song says, “I keep so busy working for the Kingdom I ain’t got time to die!
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Genesis 18:1-10 II: Col 1:24-28
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.
40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."
41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."
Perform service for the love of God, not for the love of the work itself.
| Sunday, July 21, 2013
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi,
Priest & Doctor of the Church
(1559-1619). He was Italian and a Capuchin with great teaching, writing, and leadership abilities. His writings include a commentary on Genesis, several treatises against Luther, and nine volumes of sermons. He preached in many religions of Europe and died in Lisbon.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
O God, who for the glory of your name
and the salvation of souls
bestowed on the Priest Saint Lawrence of Brindisi
a spirit of counsel and fortitude,
grant, we pray, that in the same spirit,
we may know what must be done
and, through his intercession,
bring it to completion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2,5-7
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.
Gospel Reading: Mark 4:1-10, 13-20 [or Mark 4:1-9]
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--" John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove.
And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.
POPE BENEDICT XVI
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today focuses on Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin friar of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries known for his vigorous labour for the salvation of souls, his vast learning and his eloquent preaching. Coming of age at a time when many of the articles of the faith were being called into question, Saint Lawrence applied his immense talents to making clear the biblical and patristic foundations of the teachings of the Church. This son of the Franciscan tradition also applied himself heroically to efforts towards peace and reconciliation between the nations and peoples of Europe. His witness serves as an excellent example for our age, so fraught with violence, ethical relativism and religious indifference. The new evangelization needs well-prepared, zealous and courageous apostles like Saint Lawrence so that the light and beauty of the Gospel may reach into the depths of every human heart. Dear friends, in order to achieve such a lofty vocation, Saint Lawrence of Brindisi would have us grow close to our Lord Jesus Christ by reading the Sacred Scriptures and by cultivating daily the relationship of love with him in personal prayer, because every good action of ours has its beginning and its end in him.
Feast Day: July 21
Born: 22 July 1559 at Brindisi, Italy
Died: 22 July 1619 at Lisbon, Portugal
Canonized: 1881 by Leo XIII
Major Shrine: Villafranca del Bierzo
Patron of: Brindisi
St. Lawrence of Brindisi
Feast Day: July 21
Born: 1559 :: Died: 1619
Caesar Rossi was born at Brindisi, in Naples, Italy and was the son of Guglielmo de Rossi and Elisabetta Masella. His father died when he was only twelve. As Caesar was growing up, he felt God calling him to serve Him. He obeyed this calling and at the age of sixteen, he joined the Capuchin Franciscans taking the name Brother Lorenzo or Lawrence.
He was sent to the University of Padua where he studied theology and gained a wonderful knowledge of the Bible. Lawrence, whose first language was Italian, surprised everyone by learning six languages also. He turned out to be a brilliant student who could speak French, German, Greek, Spanish, Syriac and Hebrew.
After he was ordained a priest, he became a popular preacher as he could comfortably preach in any of the six languages he had learnt. Because he could speak Hebrew, he worked for the conversion of the Jews living in Rome. Later, St. Lawrence was sent to set-up a new house for the Franciscans in Austria. The emperor, Rudolph II, did not want them to come. But Lawrence's tender care for victims of a plague won Emperor Rudolph to support his mission.
Then the emperor asked Lawrence to persuade the German princes to fight the Turks who were trying to wipe out Christendom (the followers of Christ). Lawrence did convince the princes to go into battle, on the condition, that he would go with them too. Lawrence agreed. But when the soldiers saw how large the Turkish army was, they wanted to quit.
So St. Lawrence putting his trust in God, rode in the lead armed only with a crucifix. The Christian soldiers took heart and fought bravely. The Turks were completely defeated. St. Lawrence received the praise which he refused, and gave glory to God for their success.
In 1602, St. Lawrence became the master general of his order. He worked hard, preached beautiful sermons and prepared many writings to spread the Good News. He went on important peace missions to Munich in Germany and Madrid in Spain. He helped the rulers see how much pain and suffering this enmity was causing and made peace between the two countries.
The strain of traveling so much and his hard life finally made St. Lawrence very sick. He died on his birthday, July 22, in 1619. The Capuchin Franciscans put together fifteen volumes of his sermons, letters and writings in 1956. And three years later, he was honored as "Apostolic Doctor of the Church" by Pope John XXIII in 1959.
Reflection: To whom do I give credit and offer thanks for the success or good things that I receive in life?
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|38.||Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house.||Factum est autem, dum irent, et ipse intravit in quoddam castellum : et mulier quædam, Martha nomine, excepit illum in domum suam,||εγενετο δε εν τω πορευεσθαι αυτους και αυτος εισηλθεν εις κωμην τινα γυνη δε τις ονοματι μαρθα υπεδεξατο αυτον εις τον οικον αυτης|
|39.||And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word.||et huic erat soror nomine Maria, quæ etiam sedens secus pedes Domini, audiebat verbum illius.||και τηδε ην αδελφη καλουμενη μαρια η και παρακαθισασα παρα τους ποδας του ιησου ηκουεν τον λογον αυτου|
|40.||But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me.||Martha autem satagebat circa frequens ministerium : quæ stetit, et ait : Domine, non est tibi curæ quod soror mea reliquit me solam ministrare ? dic ergo illi ut me adjuvet.||η δε μαρθα περιεσπατο περι πολλην διακονιαν επιστασα δε ειπεν κυριε ου μελει σοι οτι η αδελφη μου μονην με κατελειπεν διακονειν ειπε ουν αυτη ινα μοι συναντιλαβηται|
|41.||And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things:||Et respondens dixit illis Dominus : Martha, Martha, sollicita es, et turbaris erga plurima,||αποκριθεις δε ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους μαρθα μαρθα μεριμνας και τυρβαζη περι πολλα|
|42.||But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.||porro unum est necessarium. Maria optimam partem elegit, quæ non auferetur ab ea.||ενος δε εστιν χρεια μαρια δε την αγαθην μεριδα εξελεξατο ητις ουκ αφαιρεθησεται απ αυτης|
Sunday, July 21
Liturgical Color: Green
Today the Church honors St. Margaret
Clitherow, one of the Martyrs of
England. Because she hid priests and
allowed Masses to be said on her
property during a time of persecution,
she was pressed to death at Tyburn in 1556.
Daily Readings for: July 21, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)
Collect: Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Ordinary Time: July 21st
Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
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 (Luke 10:41-42)."
The first reading is taken from the book of Genesis, 18:1-10a. For today's reading we join Abraham shortly after his name change. It was with Abram becoming Abraham, the father of all nations, at the making of the second covenant, that men and women began to rely upon God in faith and are changed by it. God promises Abraham that within the year his aged wife, Sarah, will have a son. Abraham's reaction is to laugh. Immediately following today's reading, Sarah laughs at the news (Gen 18:12). The child born was named Isaac, which means "laughter".
The second reading is from the letter of Paul to the Colossians, 1:24-28. Last week Paul used the occasion to answer the Judaizers and remind them of the absolute supremacy of Jesus Christ. Today Paul tells us his role in proclaiming the gospel. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church."
The Gospel is from St. Luke, 10:38-42 and recounts the familiar story of Martha and Mary. St Augustine comments on this scene as follows: "Martha, who was arranging and preparing the Lord's meal, was busy doing many things, whereas Mary preferred to find her meal in what the Lord was saying. In a way she deserted her sister, who was very busy, and sat herself down at Jesus' feet and just listened to his words. She was faithfully obeying what the Psalm said: 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Ps 46:10). Martha was getting annoyed, Mary was feasting; the former coping with many things, the latter concentrating on one. Both occupations were good" (Sermon 103).
Martha has come to be, as it were, the symbol of the active life, and Mary that of the contemplative life. However, for most Christians, called as they are to sanctify themselves in the middle of the world, action and contemplation cannot be regarded as two opposite ways of practicing the Christian faith: an active life forgetful of union with God is useless and barren; but an apparent life of prayer which shows no concern for apostolate and the sanctification of ordinary things also fails to please God. The key lies in being able to combine these two lives, without either harming the other. Close union between action and contemplation can be achieved in very different ways, depending on the specific vocation each person is given by God.
Excerpted from The Navarre Bible - St. Luke
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi is the Apostolic Doctor and the doctor of conversions and missions. He said that the Savior would have become man even if the first man, Adam, had not sinned. No other doctor stated more clearly how much God desires to share love with us with these profound words. From this comment, we understand that God is a Lover first and afterwards a Savior. It is primarily through his love in the person of Jesus Christ as Savior that we know how to be saved.
Jesus' coming reveals why we need to continue his mission with him and have a mission or purpose for others. Conversion and sanctification can be a life-long process acted out daily.
Lawrence was quickly elected to the highest office with the Capuchins. He was also appointed Papal Emissary and peacemaker. He traveled to foreign countries to settle royal quarrels, acted as a Diplomat and worked for pacification and healing among nations. His ability to speak eight languages empowered him to evangelize and teach about God's love and how we are to be saved.
Everywhere he completed a mission there were miracles and conversions. His words and example were always inspiring, simple yet profound. He was a person of enormous influence and his writings probably exceeded all the doctors. His love and expression about St Mary revealed her efficacious role as the Redeemer's Mother and Savior.
St Lawrence, 1559-1619. Doctor of Conversions and Missions, Feast Day July 21st.
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Mary has chosen the better part.” (Luke 10:42)
A rip current is a strong channel of water that flows out to sea and can drag swimmers away from the shore with alarming speed and strength. But you don’t have to swim in the ocean to feel that kind of pull. Ideas, obligations, and desires tug powerfully at us every day. And the only way to avoid disaster is to swim out of their current—to do what Mary did and take time to sit in God’s presence.
Sit with him and let him speak to you: about your life, about his life in you, about his love for you. Open your heart to him without fear of what will follow. Whatever your shortcomings, failings and weaknesses, he loves, loves, loves you! He delights in giving himself to everyone who is ready to receive it. You can sit, as Mary did, unashamed and truthful about your life, and soak up the Father’s love for you. This is the better part!
This story of Martha and Mary shows us that experiencing God’s love is the most healing, empowering, inspiring thing we can do. Better than any good work, and more desirable to the Lord, is the flow of love and affection, of knowing and being known, between him and you. Yes, he sees your deepest sins, but he looks deeper still. He knows your desires for holiness, purity, and innocence. He knows the “real you” that longs to please him, to help people, and to build his kingdom. He knows the “you” that is willing to swim out of the current of anything that pulls you away from him.
Nothing is more motivating, encouraging, or inspiring than tasting God’s love. This is no passive acceptance of sin and weakness. Knowing the Father’s love, and being intimately known by him, can move you to part with sin and to overcome failure. It can build strength where you are weak. Knowing his love can release his life in you more fully and allow you to become exactly the person he created you to be.
“Here I am, Father! Teach me about your life and your love for me.”
Genesis 18:1-10; Psalm 15:2-5; Colossians 1:24-28
1. In the first reading, the Lord appears to Abraham as three men. Abraham goes out of his way to be hospitable to these strangers, and is rewarded with a promise that Sarah, though barren, will bear a son. The book of Hebrews 13:1-2 has this to say about being hospitable to one another: “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” How would you rate your own hospitality? What steps can you take to improve it?
2. The responsorial psalm says that, “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord” and “shall never be disturbed.” What are some of the attributes listed in this psalm of a just and blameless person? How can you better incorporate some of these attributes in your own life?
3. In the letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul says that the great mystery of God, “hidden from ages and from generations past” has been revealed to us and is this: “Christ in you, the hope for glory” (Colossians 1:27). What is your understanding of this “mystery?”
4. In the Gospel reading, we hear of the familiar story of Martha and Mary. Mary sat at Jesus feet, listening to him, while Martha anxiously waited on him. Why do you think Jesus said that “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42)? What about you? Are you always choosing the “better part” when it comes to your relationship to Jesus? Why or why not?
5. The meditation ends with these words: “Knowing the Father’s love, and being intimately known by him, can move you to part with sin and to overcome failure. It can build strength where you are weak. Knowing his love can release his life in you more fully and allow you to become exactly the person he created you to be.” Do you think it is important that the power to live out our Christian walk and to serve the Lord should flow from our experience of God’s great love for us? Why or why not? What steps can you take to open yourself more to receiving this great love?
6. Take some time now to pray and ask for a deeper experience of God’s love for you and for a greater desire to serve him out of your love for him. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.
HOW DO WE RECEIVE HIM?
(A biblical reflection on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] July 21, 2013)
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42
First Reading: Gen 18:1-10; Psalms: Ps 15:2-5; Second Reading: Col 1:24-28
The Scripture Text
Now as they went on their way, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lords feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her. (Lk 10:38-42 RSV)
The small valley-town of Bethany, where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived, is located just over the mountain from Jerusalem. Today a large church occupies the site which tradition says was the original home of these three close friends of Jesus. Located about 500 feet up the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is the tomb from which Lazarus was called forth, after he had died.
Our Gospel today tells of a casual visit Jesus made to His wrangling Bethany family. Exactly how or why He had developed such a close personal relationship with these three people, we are not told; but John tells us that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus very much (Jn 11:5).
This was not a typical family, since it consisted of two single women and a bachelor brother. Lazarus was possibly somewhat of a recluse, besides being sickly, and needed to be cared for by his two sisters for in the various passages we never have one word from him. Mary appears to have been shy and introspective, while Martha was aggressive, outspoken and undoubtedly the one in charge of the household. In spite of their varied temperaments and peculiar personalities, they shared a mutual love for Jesus although their common love for each other left some room for improvement.
Martha shows her complete ease in the presence of Jesus by her chiding remark about His sitting and talking to Mary, while she has to do all the work. In essence she subtly said: What I am doing is more important than what you are saying. Jesus, however, defended Marys right to sit and talk and indirectly invited the energetic Martha to join them and leave the housework until later. The Lord no doubt smiled and shook His head gently as He spoke her name twice with the suggestion that she sit down and relax. There is a time to work and a time to visit and now was the time to visit, as Mary was doing. He would not ask her to clean the house or prepare a snack.
Dont we all get caught up to some degree in the Martha syndrome? We rush about, shouting at others, constantly on edge and filled with tension, doing all our good works with a lousy attitude. A change of pace is vitally important for all people. We are often asked, What do you do? Maybe the follow-up should be, How well do you do it? In all our activities and in everything we do, Jesus is close to us; He wants us to know His presence.
Setting aside some time each day for personal meditation can help us to work more effectively and purposefully. The moments we sit at the feet of Jesus are not down time, for being alone with the Lord in thought and prayer can melt away tensions. The more we look into His gentle face, the more we begin to smile for then we realize that He is in charge and everything is not on our shoulders.
The primary point of the story is that the Lord visits those who love Him. God wants to visit us, to have a warm fellowship with us. The question is, how do we receive Him?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You, because You have given us the Holy Spirit to move us to recognize You and to enable us to open our hearts to You. We can also choose the better portion, and be attentive to You as we listen to Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and serve others. Amen.
Daily Marriage Tip for July 21, 2013:
Todays gospel reading about Martha and Mary reminds us that spouses, too, can be more of an activist (Martha) or a contemplative (Mary). Which are you? How does this mesh with your spouses temperament?
Learning from Martha and Mary
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 21, 2013
This Sunday’s gospel of Martha and Mary is found only in Luke (Luke 10:38 – 42). Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem where he’s going to offer his life on the cross. He, and possibly his disciples, have come there to get away from the crowds, to find a place of calm and peace and fellowship with friends that Jesus feels comfortable with. But there’s a problem – Martha is busy serving food – in fact the scripture says she is overwhelmed – and finds herself getting angry with her sister, Mary, who is sitting at the feet of Jesus and is not helping her at all. Who can blame Martha for this if so many mouths suddenly showed up at the door? But Jesus seems to indicate that he appreciated what Mary was doing more than Martha. What can we learn from this?
First of all, does Jesus feel at home within you? Is he a welcome guest in all circumstances? Ideally, within us there will exist a balance between a healthy, listening prayer life and a commitment to putting the Lord’s words into action. Martha’s heart is in the right place; she’s busy serving, and this is what the church does. Mary is busy listening and that’s what Jesus needed at that time. Martha was not in tune with what Jesus wanted because she could not see past her need to prepare an elaborate meal.
Without prayer, we may find that, like Martha, we are busy about many things and feeling we are doing God’s work and his will, but are, in fact, moving fast, but in the wrong direction! It is like a person who is making excellent time on the freeway but finds in the end he is traveling in the wrong direction! Martha is doing an act of kindness and this is a good thing; but she insists that it be her way of serving, and is not open to what Christ needs at this moment. Mary, on the other hand, was in tune with what Jesus needed because she was listening. She literally sits at his feet, which is the posture of attentiveness and of focusing her whole attention on Christ.
Remember that Jesus said a couple of weeks ago that he “has nowhere to lay his head”. Well, in a sense, this is still true today in that Christ has no home on earth except in the hearts of people who love him. Jesus still looks for friendly homes where he can be at ease, where he is listened to and served in a way that he desires. There are certainly any number of people that don’t love Jesus very much in this world, and, in fact, do everything they can to throw him out of their house. We Christians should be doing all we can to make him welcome in our own homes.
Finally, we are all called to have both Martha and Mary within us. At Mass, we see this balance in action: in the Eucharist, like Martha, we share a meal and sacrifice with Christ (which he himself prepares for us), and in the readings we hear Jesus speak to us and we listen attentively like Mary did.
July 21, 2013
Click here for USCCB readings
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10a
Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 2443-2449, 2709-2719Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God. St. Padre Pio
16th Sunday: Take a spiritual breath
"Martha . . . there is need of only one thing and Mary has chosen the better part."
Sunday Word: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/072113.cfm
Gen 18: 1-10a
Col 1: 24-28
Lk 10: 38-42
Hospitality is one of the most important virtues that anyone could offer. To welcome family, friends, and strangers into our lives goes a long way towards bridging the differences of one another. I think we pride ourselves in the Church to be a hospitable people. But, unlike that of ancient times in which hospitality was not just a good idea but an obligation, we find ourselves today with somewhat of a mixed message.
How many Churches remain locked unless they are in use? Virtually every one we could safely say. In the same manner, we routinely lock our homes and our automobiles; we raise fences around personal property, we have surveillance cameras around schools and banks, we install alarm systems in order to catch any intruder, we fear identity theft on credit cards and bank statements, we go through all sorts of scrutiny when it comes to applying for a bank loan or mortgage on your house, etec, etec. And then we say, Welcome!
There are obvious good and wise reasons to take all of the above precautions but in our attitudes and in particular in matters of faith, we must take exception to such often justified paranoia of the dangers that lurk around us. Our image as Church should always be one that says, All are welcome. And, the same is true with God in our life. Yet, how consciously do we welcome the Lord in our midst?
Our God is a God without borders. He is a God of invitation and when we welcome Him into our lives, we do the better part.
This Sunday our readings carry a parallel theme from last Sundays story of the Good Samaritan. There we recognized the prime value of compassion; that no matter who, even our enemy, can do good through the grace of compassionate care for another in need.
This Sunday we hear of Abram, Martha and Mary; all three of whom, welcomed God into their personal space and their lives.
Like Moses and like David, Abram was a shepherd simply minding his own business in his nomadic life; moving about from place to place as their herds grazed in the desert. How important it was for survival that occasional wanderers could find rest, safety and hospitality in the harsh environment should they come upon a shepherd camped among his tents. And so, in the reading from Genesis we hear of three visitors to Abram who were standing nearby his temporary settlement.
Abram eagerly welcomes these men, who we hear in the first lines of the reading, were the Lord. Abram is eager for them (God and two angels) to stay. He ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them . . . and said Sir . . . please do not go on . . . Though there were three (early indication of the Trinity?) Abram addresses these persons as one.
The point is his enthusiasm, his attitude of hospitality and the sure blessing that came to him and his wife Sarah due to their respect. God promises Abram, I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.
In like manner, the story of Martha and Mary is a familiar one. They welcomed Jesus to their home. Tradition is clear that Jesus had a special relationship with these sisters and their brother Lazarus who he raised from the dead. Maybe he could always find a place to hide out and rest with them should things get a bit dicey in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, the story is powerful in its cultural commentary.
Like the woman who came to Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Lk 7: 36 8:3) and wept at his feet, Mary sits here at the feet of Jesus listening to his every word. Martha, ever busy about all the necessary things of hospitality, is well-meaning certainly but Jesus uses the occasion in order to teach a basic lesson about discipleship.
To see Mary move boldly to such a position at Jesus feet is not only suggestive, though not intended to be such, but counter-cultural. Mary takes the social position of a man, a male disciple of the learned rabbi, who is positioned to learn from the Master. She sits and attentively listens to his teaching. Such chutzpah!
We might say the scene is both instructive and inspiring. It seems to indicate what Jesus so often showed that he came for all: male/female; slave/free; Jew and Gentile. In this scenario we see the Good Samaritan who reached out and broke through the cultural prejudice for the sake of compassion. We hear the woman weeping at the feet of Jesus for her sin and our Lord tenderly forgives her. The woman caught in adultery whom Jesus does not condemn but gently admonishes, Do not do this again.
Women of Jesus time were considered to be servants their place was in the home. If they were widowed it was the responsibility of the oldest son to care for them and if childless they were reduced to begging. Jesus not only broke through those barriers but indeed says that we too must do the same in our human relationships.
To contemplate the Lord and his Gospel in our lives to sit at his feet as we do when we attend Holy Mass and hear his word in the Scriptures, to find time for reflective prayer in our busy lives is the better part. The rest of the details will fall into place. When we find him, we must be attentive. As cliché as it may sound, When were too busy to pray, were too busy.
Not only must we listen it seems but we must also welcome the Lord; we must invite him to come into our homes. Are we too caught up in duties, responsibilities, and busy work that just fills our time to stop and take a spiritual breath with the Lord? I know how easy it is for parents or for myself as full-time pastor to find excuses rather than take the time to feed myself spiritually. Ill get to it later. I dont have the time right now. Sound familiar?
The Eucharist is that moment when we gather not just for a welcome but for a good listen. It might be true that one reason why regular (weekly) Church attendance is down is because so many have filled their days/weeks/ and our life with sound and distractions; with activities and priorities that have blinded us to see the better part with the Lord as a higher value.
When Christ feeds us in his Word and his Body are we prepared and disposed to sense his presence? Do we just show up for Mass or do we truly make use of that time to listen and reflect? Is my whole life centered around my personal needs and wants or do I truly make time for others?
Lord, save us from useless and shallow distractions. Help us to see the higher good that you offer.
A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for July 21, 2013, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | Carl E. Olson
• Gen 18:1-10a
• Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
• Col 1:24-28
• Lk 10:38-42
Americans are, generally speaking, a pragmatic and practical people. We know how to get things done, how to organize, how to make a plan and put it into action. Work may be “a rat race” and “a grind,” but we take satisfaction in knowing we work hard, do a good job, and are productive members of society.
But to what end?
By “end,” I mean “ultimate end.” This question is pursued relentlessly and with sometimes unsettling results in the little classic, Leisure: The Basis of Culture (Ignatius Press, 2009), written in the 1950s by the German philosopher, Josef Pieper. Western man overvalues work, Pieper argued, and he has lost the meaning and importance of true leisure, instead substituting shallow entertainment and empty diversions. Leisure is essential to be whole, and the soul of leisure is “divine worship” of the Creator. “Celebration of God in worship,” writes Pieper, “cannot be done unless it is done for its own sake.”
Hold that thought and cut away to the dusty, first-century village of Bethany and the home of Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. Jesus, having told his disciples of his approaching suffering and death and having performed healings and exorcisms (Lk. 9), was likely ready for a brief respite before heading into Jerusalem, just two miles away. Martha was an exemplary hostess. She believed, at the very least, that Jesus was a great prophet, and she took pride in treating this friend and guest of distinction to the finest care and food (note the clear parallels with today’s reading from Genesis). And so Martha was busily preparing and serving food, even while her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to him speak.
What happened next was not an ordinary part of Semitic culture and hospitality: Martha sought to draw Jesus into the middle of a domestic disagreement. And she pulled out all of the stops in doing so, employing the guilt trip (“Lord, do you not care…”), playing the victim card (“that my sister has left by myself…”), and employing the exasperated demand (“Tell her to help me”). Things went from agreeable to awkward quickly!
I’ve heard the words of Jesus interpreted sometimes as being a rebuke to Martha. But that is unfair to Martha and it skews, or misses altogether, the essential point. The Church Fathers are quite agreed on this point. St. Gregory the Great, for example, wrote, “For what is set forth by Mary, who sitting down gave ear to the words of our Lord, save the life of contemplation? And what by Martha, so busied with outward services, save the life of action? Now Martha's concern is not reproved, but that of Mary is even commended.” He then arrived at this vital conclusion: “For the merits of the active life are great, but of the contemplative, far better.” Everything that Martha did was good. Yet in pursuing good things, she overlooked the greatest good.
What was it? Mary, in sitting at Jesus’ feet, showed her submission to him. She literally “listened to his word”; that is, she listened to the logos of the Logos. She was completely and wholly present to the Incarnate Word; there was no practical end to this being present, for it was simply an act of love and worship. “To cling to God and to the things of God,” wrote St. John Cassian, “this must be our major effort, this must be the road that the heart follows unswervingly. Any diversion, however impressive, must be regarded as secondary, low-grade and certainly dangerous.” And St. Ambrose sums it up perfectly: “Do not let service divert the knowledge of the heavenly Word.”
Mary, in choosing “the better part” had made the right choice. She completely gave her attention and herself to the Lord, fully aware of the Word of God present in flesh and blood, and in spoken word. In so choosing, she gained what could never be taken from her.
(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the July 18, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)
|“Only Jesus, Only Jesus”|
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10: 38-42
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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are my God and my all. You created me, and you made me to be happy with you. Lord, I hope in you, because I trust that you will not lead me astray. I love you, Lord, because you are the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through you, Lord, and I love you for being the mediator before the Father.
Petition: Lord, be the center, standard, and example of my life.
1. “You Are Anxious About Many Things” - It seems that things are moving faster all the time and that more and more things vie for my time. I serve as a chauffeur for the household, I spend a large part of my time accompanying the children for extracurricular activities, and people left and right want to talk to me. There is so much going on. Our culture almost demands that I do all these things. What is more, it seems at times like no one understands my dilemma. I am trying to do what is right, I am trying to be responsible, and it seems like no one else is. I identify myself with Martha, Lord, in a world which is so active and at times seems to fly by. Help me to make the right choices and to fulfill your will.
2. “There Is Need of Only One Thing” - Love Christ. Live for him. As life progresses and eternity draws near, only the love of Christ remains. Everything else turns into smoke, mist, nothing. Christ´s love is the treasure for which I should sell everything else, even egotism, pride and vanity. Lord, you are all I need. What else will matter when I finish my life? Who else can fill my soul with satisfaction and peace? Who else brings meaning to my life but you? Remind me of this, because many times it is so easy for me to lose my focus and direction in the world. It seems so easy for me to put other things first.
3. “Choose the Better Part” - Lord, your words to Martha strike a chord in my heart. I can let the noise and distractions around me nick at my heart and misdirect me, but all that will do is bring about more confusion and uneasiness. However, if I choose you, what great confidence it will bring me to know that you will not be taken from me. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to be fulfilled. Why should I fool myself looking for happiness in the things of this world when you supply it, Lord? Why should I settle for something less than the better part which you want to give me? Shouldn’t I be excited to be able to sit at your feet and spend time with you when you want to teach me what it means to be the best I can be; to be holy?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the confidence of knowing that you are all I need. I do not want to distract myself with anything else. I want to sit at your feet. I want to listen to what you want to tell me. I want very much to learn from you.
Resolution: After Mass I will make a visit to Christ in thanksgiving for having received him in the Eucharist, and I will take a moment to listen to what he has to tell me.
Today, Jesus visits the home of two sisters and causes an upheaval. Why?
Gospel (Read Lk 10:38-42)
St. Luke tells us of a visit Jesus made to a village where “a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him.” It must have been a comfort to Jesus to receive a welcome like this. He met many different responses on His journey from Galilee to Jerusalem—some not so warm (see Lk 9:52-53; 10:13-16, 25). Perhaps He was relieved at the prospect of a cordial home visit.
However, rather than the presence of Jesus bringing a blessing to Martha’s home, there was trouble right away. When Jesus arrived, Mary, Martha’s sister, simply “sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to Him speak.” It was probably the custom to spring into action upon receiving a guest in the home in that time and place—offering water to clean feet dirty from desert dust, preparing a meal, etc. Why did Mary choose, instead, to drop everything and be quiet? Was there something about Jesus that assured her He was no ordinary guest? Were His words so compelling that she didn’t want to miss a single one of them? Did she sense immediately that the first priority in His visit to her home was to pay attention to everything He wanted to say to the people in the room (assuming His disciples were with Him)?
Martha became very upset, because she launched into all the requisite activity of showing hospitality to guests by herself. She became so provoked in this fevered work that she faulted both Jesus and her sister for making her life difficult: “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” She believed that others had caused the isolation she felt in her labors. She blamed them for her unhappiness—always a bad sign. Sorely frustrated, Martha tries to take charge of the situation, since others were failing her: “Tell her to help me.”
Are we surprised by this boldness? Imagine telling Jesus, the Guest, what He ought to do for Martha, the hostess. As inappropriate as this was, Jesus’ response to the harried woman is full of tenderness: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.” Jesus is more concerned for her than He is about the service she was attempting to offer Him. He diagnosed the heart of her problem—anxiety and worry. She was entirely focused on the project at hand, the work she thought was expected of her. It filled her with distress and then with fault-finding. She wanted to do something for Jesus, but perhaps it came out of a sense of duty, or self-regard, or just habit. Whatever the source, Jesus needed to help her out of it. What would have been a better way for Martha to receive this visit from Jesus?
He tells her quite directly: “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” When Jesus comes to visit, when we invite Him into our lives as Martha invited Him into her home, the best response is to stop, be still, and listen carefully to what He has to say. The Guest gets all the attention first. There will be time to do something for Him, of course, but first He must do something for us. Mary understood that right away. We can assume that after Jesus’ gentle correction, Martha did, too.
Possible response: Lord Jesus, anxiety and worry are always signs that I have forgotten the one thing needful. Please help me remember this.
First Reading (Read Gen 18:1-10a)
Here we have a story of the patriarch, Abraham, offering energetic hospitality to three mysterious visitors—clearly a divine visitation. This story was well-known to the Jews and very likely helped form the tradition of hospitality among them even down to Jesus’ day, as we see reflected in the Epistle to the Hebrews: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2). Was Abraham’s response to his visitors any different from Martha’s? Well, we can see that Abraham was entirely focused on his guests. Notice that first he asked their permission to offer them the usual services of hospitality, including the preparation of a meal. Then “the men replied, ‘Very well, do as you have said.’” Would Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary have turned out differently if Martha had first asked Jesus if He wanted anything from her household? Perhaps He would have told her right away to simply sit with Mary and listen for awhile. The mistake she made was taking charge of the situation, forgetting to focus on her Guest.
Thus, Abraham becomes an excellent example of how to receive a Divine Visitor. Even though he bustled around in lots of activity, he did it with the approval of his guests. Humility and hospitality should never be separated.
Possible response: Heavenly Father, please help me have the focus, humility, and then the energy of Abraham when I am in Your presence.
Psalm (Read Ps 15:2-5)
The psalm extols the life of justice, and, as we read it, we can see something of how Martha, in our Gospel, became misguided in her hospitality. The just man “thinks truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.” We remember the bitterness in Martha’s heart over the work she thought she was supposed to do when Jesus visited her. It led to harsh words about both Jesus and her sister. This was not what His visit was supposed to do. She completely lost sight of the fact that Jesus was present in her own home. He called her back to reality, however. We can perhaps imagine Martha then wanting to sing with joy with the psalmist: “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading (Read Col 1:24-28)
St. Paul gives us a wonderful perspective on the sufferings we will experience as we serve the Lord. Had Martha been asked by Jesus to work hard on her hospitality, she could have responded to the burden of it in the same way St. Paul did to his sufferings: “I rejoice in my sufferings.” How could he do this? He understood the glorious mystery of the Gospel: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Whatever we do for Him in our bodies that results in suffering is how we fill up in our flesh “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His Body, which is the Church.” All that is “lacking” in Christ’s afflictions is the part He asked us to share when He invited us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
What a difference this makes in our bodily suffering! Of course we can rejoice.
Possible response: Lord Jesus, to rejoice in my sufferings seems so otherworldly. I will need your help every single day to do it.
I once got a harsh letter from a Baptist lady protesting that she could not find the word “Catholic” anywhere in the Bible.
True, the earliest occurrence of the term is in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written 20 years after the last book of the New Testament. But the idea that the Church is “catholic” pops up everywhere in the gospels and epistles. The Greek word “catholic” comes from the word for “wholeness” or “fullness.” The “catholic” church is not just a regional sect for an exclusive little group. Rather it must include the whole family of God over the whole world, welcoming all, from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Rev 7: 9). In addition, the “catholic” church cannot pick and choose which doctrines are trendy and convenient, but must be faithful to the whole truth. Paul points out that the essence of his apostolic call was to be a “catholic” teacher: “I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness” . . . we admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom, hoping to make every man complete in Christ (Col 1:25, 28, NAB).
One day, the fullness of life and truth came walking into the living room of a pair of sisters named Martha and Mary. They immediately recognized the privilege of having Jesus in their home and set to work fulfilling the sacred duty of hospitality.
The problem was, they had conflicting ideas of what that duty entailed. Martha’s response is very recognizable, especially by those familiar with Mediterranean culture. “Bring out the coffee, the wine (what kind do you prefer?), make sure the china and silverware are laid out in proper order, get out a full assortment of hot and cold hors d’oeurves (make sure the hot are really served hot!).”
Mary thought that the supreme compliment that she could pay to her divine guest, even more than world-class refreshments, was to give him her full attention. The fullness of truth had come to her home to nourish, enlighten, and transform her. Not to receive and unwrap this wonderful gift would be an insult to the giver.
Martha’s mistake was not that she attended to the guest’s bodily needs. The story of Martha and Mary is not an endorsement of laziness and passivity. In Gen 18:1-10 God visits Abraham in the form of three travelers, and Abraham and Sara pull out all the stops when it comes to food and drink, and this was good.
Martha’s problem was that she allowed the activity of hospitality to become a distraction. She couldn’t see the forest for the trees. She lost her focus and actually got mad that her sister would not join her in her frenetic fussing.
Mary kept her focus. She was not passive – attentiveness to the fullness of truth is supremely active. That’s why the contemplative, monastic life has always been held in the highest esteem in the Catholic Church.
I was once told by a monk that the greatest sin of the modern world is not its lewdness but its busyness. We live in the most distracted, frenetic society of all time. It is tempting in such a society to think we are good Christians and deserve applause because we look God from time to time out of the corner of our eye.
But the fullness of truth, the fullness of life, the fullness of grace deserves our full attention. Jesus really cannot be merely a part of one’s life, but must be the center of one’s life. It does not mean that our life can’t be full of activities. But unless we preserve some quiet time each day to sit at his feet as did Mary, our action will become distraction and we’ll be as snappy and unhappy as Martha.
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