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Rough Cuts | The deeper kind of hospitality

Today is Sunday, July 21, 2019. It is the 3rd Sunday of the month and is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary time of the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar.

This Sunday’s Psalm is, “He who does justice will live in the presence.”

The 1st Reading for today is from Genesis 18:1-10a. It says:

Yahweh appeared to Abraham hear the oaks of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent, in the heat of the day, when he looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them. He bowed to the ground and said, “My Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass your servant by. Let the little water be brought. Wash your feet and then rest under the trees. I shall fetch some bread so that you can be refreshed and continue on your way, since you have come to your servant.” They then said, “Do as you say.” Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said to her, “Quick, take three measures of flour, knead it and make cakes.”

Abraham then run to the herd, took a fine, tender calf, gave it to the servant who hurried to prepare it. He took butter and milk and together with the calf he had prepared laid it all before them. And while he remained standing, they ate. They then asked, “Where is Sarah, your wife?” Abraham answered, “She is in the tent.” And the visitor said, “At this same time next year I will return and Sarah by then will have a son.”

Now Sarah was behind him, listening at the entrance to the tent.

This Sunday’s 2nd Reading is from Colossians 1:24-28.

At present, I rejoice when I suffer for you; I complete, in my own flesh, what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the Church. For I am serving the Church since God entrusted to me the ministry to make the word of God fully known. I mean that mysterious plan that, for centuries and generations, remained secret, and which God has now revealed to his holy ones.

God willed to make known the riches, and even the glory, that his mysterious plan reserved for the pagan nations. Christ is in you, and you may hope God’s glory.

This Christ, we preach. We warn, and teach everyone true wisdom, aiming to make everyone perfect, in Christ.

Today’s Gospel is from Luke 10:38-42. It says:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

READ: This episode in the Book of Genesis shows Sarah secretly listening to the conversation of the three men and Abraham. St. Paul writes to the Colossians of the ministry that was entrusted to him, that is “to make the word of God fully known.” The gospel reading narrates that Mary sat down listening to the words of Jesus.

REFLECT: In his visit to the house of Mary and Martha, Jesus is not very particular about the details of hospitality; he is more concern with the more important form of hospitality, a spiritual hospitality, namely: listening to his words. We may also call it: the “hospitality of loving attention and listening” (Brendan Byrne). It is a deeper kind of hospitality, which Mary accorded to Jesus. It is the “only one thing that Jesus has commended as something needed. Another thing that differentiates Mary from Martha is that she has recognized God’s visit through Jesus. This recognition prompted her to offer Jesus an open heart. For the poor and the vulnerable of our society, that is also the kind of hospitality that they can offer when the word of God is heard. It is spiritually the most necessary. With the hospitality of attention and listening comes the hospitality of trust.

NB: Our heartfelt thanks to the Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., publisher of the book Bible Diary 2019 from where we source the Word of God that we are sharing with our fellow faithful every Sunday.

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