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Hospitality to God

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Hospitality to God

XVI Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C – July 17, 2016
Roman Rite
Gen 18.1 to 10; Ps 15; Col 1.24 to 28; Lk 10,38-42

Ambrosian Rite
1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Ps 88; 2 Tim 2.8 to 13; Mt 22.41 to 46
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

1) An apparent contrast.
Last Sunday’s Gospel ended with the phrase that Jesus had said to the doctor of the law, after having told the parable of the Good Samaritan “Go, and do likewise.
The Gospel passage of this Sunday tells of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary, and ends with the phrase that Jesus says to Martha: “Mary has chosen the better part which shall not be taken away. Many have interpreted these words as a confirmation – by Jesus – that the contemplative life hidden in monasteries is better and of a higher value than the active life of those who work to witness to Christ in the world.
To limit the words of Christ to the contrast between the active life in the world (Martha) and the contemplative life in the monastery (Mary) means diminishing it. The perspective is broader and touches two attitudes that must be part of the life of any disciple, listening and service. The tension is not between listening and service, but between listening and service that distracts from listening. Indeed, prayer is not opposed to occupation, but to concern.
After the great parable of the Good Samaritan, which began with the question on what is needed to “do in order to inherit eternal life, today, Jesus develops his teaching by saying that the best part is not so much to do good things and to do them with love, but “to be like in a deep friendship, where one not only commits himself, but also contemplates the Friend and let be embraced by him accepting his words of eternal life.

2) To host God
I think that it is correct to say that the main theme of the liturgy of this Sunday is hospitality to be given to God. In fact, the text of the Gospel speaks of the hospitality that the two women give to the Son of God, and the first reading, which is taken from the book of Genesis and narrates the encounter of Abraham with three men in Hebron by the Oaks of Mamre, tells of the Patriarch”€™s encounter with the Lord.
Abraham does not know that he is about to meet God. Not at the beginning of the text it is said that the three travelers identify with the Lord.
Abraham is sitting in the doorway of his tent, but is vigilant. In fact, in the Old Testament”€™s text says: “He raised his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. He saw them and ran to meet them. “
Abraham acts with spontaneity: he runs towards them and honors them. It offers them water to wash, food and says, “Do refresh yourselves. Then, he prepares the meal: it is the beginning of the hospitable welcoming of the Other.
On the one hand there is the invitation: “If I have found favor in your eyes do not move on without stopping. This is a question that we too must learn to ask in order to meet God, our life and our brothers.
On the other, there is a surprising answer: “I’ll be with you in a year, and, by then your wife Sarah shall have a son.
Every meeting is an amazing promise and that is unbelievable, at least for Sarah. The wife of Abraham “laughed within herself. This woman thought that what we do not manage does not happen. It is not so: nothing is impossible to God, and with him, life flourishes. The important thing is to welcome him.

3) Being a follower to accommodate Christ.
The passage of today’s Gospel presents us with the welcome offered to Jesus by Martha and Mary.
Saint Luke has included this passage after the parable of the Good Samaritan (Gospel of last Sunday), to further clarify Jesus”€™ way of acting so to understand the love of God and of the neighbor. The episode of Martha and Mary is also tied to the episode that follows and which will be read next Sunday and that will cover Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
The Evangelist Luke builds a chain of three rings that have three inseparable and fundamental aspects of the life of a disciple of Jesus: the love of God and of the neighbor, the listening to the Word of God and prayer.
The Gospel says: “A woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her house. The name Martha means “hostess. This lady of the house takes towards the guest a traditionally female role: she gets busy preparing the table. Mary, on the contrary, sits with the host, taking on a role that the custom of the time reserved to men. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, and listens to his words.
That of Mary is the habitual attitude of the disciple in front of his master. And this is new. The rabbis, in fact, did not accept women as their followers. Becoming a disciple was reserved for men. For Jesus it is not so. Even women are called to listen and to be disciples.
Christ is the host, to whom one must make room in his or her heart. That is what He wants most of all. This is why Jesus should be honored and served by listening to his Word. This ‘is what Mary does. Martha’s sister is described in the Gospel of St. Luke in the attitude typical of the disciple, which by definition in the Old and New Testament, is primarily “the one who listens. It will then be up to the same Word to take its course in the heart of those who have received it and to point out the times and the ways of the real “service both to the Lord and towards the neighbor. The proof of this is precisely the absence stress (the one of Martha), because the disciple who listens rests in the assurance that God is at work. If he cares for the field grass that is here today and tomorrow is cast into the oven (see Lk 12, 24), the more He cares for man, his favorite creature.
The perfect synthesis between Martha and Mary is found in the Virgin Mary,that of Christ was the first and foremost disciple. Saint Augustine emphasizing the attitude of faith of Mary, the cause of her divine motherhood, writes: “It is more for Mary to have been the disciple of Christ than the Mother of Christ (Sermon 25,7: PL 46, 937 ). And St. Maximus Confessor adds: “The Holy Mother became a disciple of her sweet Son, true Mother of Wisdom and daughter of wisdom, because she did not look at him humanely or as a simple man, but served him with respect as God and welcomed his words as words of God “(AA.VV. [edd.], Marian Texts of the first millennium, Rome 1989, 2, 232).
This example is followed in particular from the Virgins Consecrated in the world, who are called to live their vocation looking always at Christ, from the cradle of Bethlehem to the Cross of Jerusalem, and then looking at the world in which they live through the eyes of Christ. Jesus is “the bridegroom with us (Mt 9,15). Through his Blood Christ generates the new humanity. The Church is loved by Christ with spousal transport: she lives in his love, in total intimacy with Him. She reciprocates Christ”€™s love  with a  bride’s heart. Her life of “bride of Christ “is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3,3). “The new Jerusalem is adorned as a bride ready to go to meet the bridegroom (Rev 21,2). All the baptized share the marriage of the Church, of which the consecrated virgins are constant witness.

Patristic Reading

Saint Augustin of Hyppo

Sermon LIII. [CIII. Ben.]

On the words of the gospel, Lc 10,38 “€œAnd a certain woman named Martha received him into her house,”€ etc.

1 (Ph 2,7

2 (Mt 4,11

3 (1R 17,6

4 (Jn 1,11-12.

5 Meruerunt.

6 (Mt 25,40

7 (Ps 46,10

8 (Lc 10,41

9 (Lc 10,42).

10 St. Augustin is explaining the words unum opus est, which in themselves might mean, “€œthere is one work,”€ or as in the text.

11 (1Co 1,10

12 (Ph 2,2-3.

13 (Jn 17,22

14 (Ac 4,32

15 (Ps 34,3

16 Supernum.

17 (1Co 9,11

18 (He 13,2

19 (Lc 10,42

20 harelqwn;transiens, Vulgate.

21 (Lc 12,37

22 (Mt 8,11).

23 (Jn 13,1

24 metabhv; transeat, Vulgate.



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