Year C – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 21, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Genesis 18:1-10a; Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 (R/. 1a); Colossians 1:24-28; cf. Luke 8:15; Luke 10:38-42

Do you ever look at maps?  You quickly conclude there is no logical explanation for how countries or states are formed.  It is all so arbitrary and fluid, truly “man-made.”  Boundaries also tend to shift over time, sometimes due to changes in the earth, but more often, once again, to “man-made” situations like war or political agreements.  Relational boundaries also tend to shift with time and circumstances, even between God and us.  In the story of God visiting Abraham and Sarah, a boundary into deeper intimacy shifts when God promises Abraham that within a year Sarah will have a son.  Another boundary is crossed when God speaks to Sarah for the first time.  Unfortunately, we do not get to hear it today.

A Jewish home had physical boundaries, “male space” and “female space.”  Mary was not in the kitchen where she “belonged.”  More than that, she was sitting at the feet of the Jesus, the posture of a disciple, another crossing over into male territory.  Jesus made it clear where, and what, Mary could be.

God is so into creation that it has not ended; new realities keep on coming.  What boundaries in your life need shifting?


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One response to “Year C – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 21, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

  1. Jul 29, Office of Readings – Memorial for Martha, Hw

    Second reading
    From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
    Blessed are they who deserved to receive Christ in their homes

    Our Lord’s words teach us that though we labor among the many distractions of this world, we should have but one goal. For we are but travelers on a journey without as yet a fixed abode; we are on our way, not yet in our native land; we are in a state of longing, not yet of enjoyment. But let us continue on our way, and continue without sloth or respite, so that we may ultimately arrive at our destination.
    Martha and Mary were sisters, related not only by blood but also by religious aspirations. They stayed close to our Lord and both served him harmoniously when he was among them. Martha welcomed him as travelers are welcomed. But in her case, the maidservant received her Lord, the invalid her Savior, the creature her Creator, to serve him bodily food while she was to be fed by the Spirit. For the Lord willed to put on the form of a slave, and under this form to be fed by his own servants, out of condescension and not out of need. For this was indeed condescension, to present himself to be fed; since he was in the flesh he would indeed be hungry and thirsty.
    Thus was the Lord received as a guest who came unto his own and his own received him not; but as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God, adopting those who were servants and making them his brothers, ransoming the captives and making them his co-heirs. No one of you should say: “Blessed are they who have deserved to receive Christ into their homes!” Do not grieve or complain that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. He did not in fact take this privilege from you. As he says: Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me.

    But you, Martha, if I may say so, are blessed for your good service, and for your labors you seek the reward of peace. Now you are much occupied in nourishing the body, admittedly a holy one. But when you come to the heavenly homeland will you find a traveler to welcome, someone hungry to feed, or thirsty to whom you may give drink, someone ill whom you could visit, or quarreling whom you could reconcile, or dead whom you could bury?
    No, there will be none of these tasks there. What you will find there is what Mary chose. There we shall not feed others, we ourselves shall be fed. Thus what Mary chose in this life will be realized there in all its fullness; she was gathering fragments from that rich banquet, the Word of God. Do you wish to know what we will have there? The Lord himself tells us when he says of his servants, Amen, I say to you, he will make them recline and passing he will serve them.


    After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, they gave a dinner for him at Bethany,
    – and Martha served at table.

    Mary took a pound of costly perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus.
    – And Martha served at table.


    Almighty ever-living God,
    whose Son was pleased
    to be welcomed in Saint Martha’s house as a guest,
    grant, we pray, that through her intercession,
    serving Christ faithfully in our brothers and sisters,
    we may merit to be received by you in the halls of heaven.
    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.

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