Sunday Gospel reflections: Welcoming the Lord

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

"Christ in the House of Martha and Mary" by Henryk Siemiradzki, 1886. Photo: Public Domain

For those of us gifted with the resources to be hospitable, entertaining is a gratifying activity, especially when we are welcoming famous or beloved guests.

In the readings for this Sunday, Abraham of Ur and Martha of Bethany both exercise their gifts of hospitality. Abraham hurries to put on a feast for his mysterious visitors. After they accept his offering of “a little bread,” he calls for Sarah to make up a three-measure batch of fresh cakes, and for his servants to prepare a fatted calf with fresh curds and milk. What a spread! Martha is no less busy preparing her finest fare for Jesus. In the end, Abraham entertains angels, and Martha serves the Son of God. What memorable events!

It is the Lord himself, though, who points out the better way of welcome. When Martha bursts out in frustration that her sister, Mary, is doing nothing to help, he gently rebuffs her busyness with many things and points out the better part: simply being with him, listening to his every word.

In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul nails down what it is to entertain the Holy Spirit: “the riches of the glory of this mystery … [which] is Christ in you, the hope for glory.”

With Mary of Bethany let us be human beings rather than human doings, and give time to simply being with the Lord.

  — Beverly Illauq


Genesis 18:1-10A

Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5

Colossians 1:24-28

Luke 10:38-42

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