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17/07/2022 Day 198

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Readings on p. 1070 and Antiphons on p. 1065 of the Daily Missal.

Entrance Antiphon.

See, I have God for my help. The Lord sustains my soul. I will sacrifice to you with willing heart, and praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.

Collect. (Celebrant Only)

Show favour, 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.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Amen.

First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10a

A reading from the Book of Genesis.

In those days: The Lord appeared to him 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 favour 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. They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” The Lord said, “I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15:2-3a.3bc-4ab.5 (R. 1a)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:

R/. Lord, who may abide in your tent?

Whoever walks without fault;
who does what is just,
and speaks the truth from his heart.
Whoever does not slander with his tongue.

Who does no wrong to a neighbour,
who casts no slur on a friend,
who looks with scorn on the wicked,
but honours those who fear the Lord.

Who keeps an oath, whatever the cost,
who lends no money at interest,
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a one shall never be shaken.

R/. Lord, who may abide in your tent?

Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians.

Brethren: Now I 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.

The Word of the Lord.

Please stand for the Gospel.

Alleluia, Alleluia.
Blessed are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

At that time: Jesus entered a village; 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 Lord’s 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Homile

I would like to tell you a story about a man attending a crowded Church service who refused to stop using his smartphone when asked to do so by the ushers.

  • Others also asked him to stop using his smartphone, but he remained obstinate.
  • The priest was perturbed, too, and waited for the man after Mass.
  • He told the man that the Church was quite happy to have him as a guest, and invited him to join the parish, but he explained the traditional decorum regarding the use of smartphones during Mass and said, “I hope you will conform to that practice in the future.”
  • “Thank you,” said the man.
    • “And thank you for taking time to talk to me.
    • It is good of you to invite me to join the parish.
    • In fact, I joined it three years ago and have been coming regularly ever since, but today is the first time that anyone paid attention to me.
    • After being an unknown for three years, today, by simply using my smartphone, I have had the pleasure of talking with the ushers, several of the congregants and you.
    • Thanks!”
  • This week we have two stories about hospitality. But as it turns out, it is hospitality to God!
  • Hospitality is about noticing the other and being attentive to the other.
  • “Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves.  It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world.  Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.”

The reading from the book of Genesis says that Abraham was sitting outside his tent on a hot day.

  • He looked up to find three men standing nearby on the path, apparently satisfying their curiosity about the tent and its occupants.
  • It is not clear that Abraham knew who they were, but we suspect that they were God appearing to Abraham in human form!

How does Abraham react to this Godly presence?

  • He flies into action.
  • He bows deeply.
  • He begs the men to relax from their journey and receive comfort, nourishment, and rest.
  • Beautiful hospitality from the Eastern part of the world.

He then rushes into the great tent, issuing rapid commands to his wife Sarah.

  • “Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.” He picks the best calf and orders the servant to prepare it. He dashes outside to get curds and milk.
  • At long last he sets the whole meal before the men.

It is quite a scene and a genuine hospitable welcome.

  • Then the men make a sudden, astonishing statement.
  • Next year Sarah will bear a son by Abraham.
  • As the dinner had progressed, Sarah had stood behind the tent flap listening, and now she actually laughs out loud as she hears this absurdity about her dried-up body, nearly 89 years old, which is to issue forth a tender baby.
  • Our scripture selection for Sunday leaves out the laughing part. If you want to read it, it is in verses 11-15 of that same chapter.

As we know, after a time this amazing prophecy did indeed come to be. We can thank God that Abraham listened to the angels disguised as men. They were the presence of God.

In the Gospel, Jesus enters the house of his friends Mary and Martha.

  • He too is warmly welcomed.
  • As he sits, Mary arranges herself at his feet and focuses her clear wide eyes upon him, while Martha bustles about preparing dinner.
  • Then Martha gets tired and exasperated, and finally asks Jesus to make Mary stop lounging about and help out a little.

Surprisingly, Jesus says, no.

“Mary has chosen the better part,” he explains.

Isn’t this response unjust to Martha?

  • After all, someone has to make the meal or there would be none.
  • Or maybe Martha could have said, “we are not having any food tonight, we are just going to sit and stare at you.”

In truth, Martha’s trouble was not that she was so busy, but that in her busy – ness, she forgot about Jesus.

  • She was not making him welcome, she was constructing a meal.
  • He even tells her that she was anxious and worried about many things, not the one thing necessary.

What is the one thing necessary? Relation to Christ. Being in relationship to Christ.

Real hospitality means a two-way relationship in which host and guest open to each other, become present to one another in various ways.

  • Hosts do work out the details of preparation, and they work hard.
  • But they always remember the visitor while they prepare.
  • Excellent hosts manage somehow to get everything ready but also to truly listen and converse with the one who has come.

Before the covid pandemic came along, our parish had a vision statement: “United in Love and diversity in building the kingdom of God, making God known and loved”.

It appears in the header in the bulletin every week.

Pope Francis described his vision for the church like this: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. 

Pope Francis wants a church that is active and living and involved in the world – not running away from the world.

We want to develop our vision statement into a vibrant and comprehensive pastoral ministry.

What I love about our parish is that there is this diversity of young and old, there are families who have been here for years and new families just starting out in our community. We are a multilingual and multi-cultural community.

That’s why the listening circles for the Synod were important. They gave us an opportunity to listen to each other. Our Connect groups are  a safe and non-judgemental space to listen and share and even to make new friends.

  • That’s why Alpha is important as helps to develop the hospitality that we heard about in the readings from Scripture for today.

Now we need to encourage those who are no longer coming to Mass to venture out and join us in a welcoming community.

I am developing a new style of Parish Pastoral Council in our parish.

  • I want them to focus on hospitality in our parish
  • Currently they participating in a program looking at how we can grow in our parish ministry in a post covid society.
  • We will strive to develop both an online and in-person ministry in our parish.
  • Our vision is great and the potential for it to be greater is vast, but that can’t happen without the participation of all in our parish.

Every day we strive to find God in all things, in all the people we know and/or help, no matter how busy we might be.

  • We are to relate to them because God is within them, deep in their souls.
  • Touch them. Hear them. Prepare meals for them without forgetting them.
  • We will be giving hospitality to God himself.
  • All Christians are called to be listeners of the Word – something we do each time we gather at Mass and listen to the proclamation of the Word.
  • Earlier I told a little story about a man using his smartphone in church.
    • Now I want to say that on our parish app, we have the scripture readings for Mass each day.
    • If you use your smartphone during Mass to read the Scripture readings for Mass – all well and good.
    • But, if you check your messages or play a game during Mass – Woe to you – you are cutting yourself off from God!
  • I pray we all may be listeners to the Word of God, and live in service of our neighbour, by being a welcoming and hospitable community.

From today’s Gospel reading:

[Jesus said to Martha]

“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.”

Reflection:

There is not just one way of being Jesus’ disciples. Nor is one way superior and the other inferior. Instead, we are invited to follow both ways. The challenge is deciding when we are to choose Mary’s way and when we are to choose Martha’s. As one commentator has said, “The Christian life involves, among other things, a sense of timing.”

So we ask ourselves:

  • When does your life resemble Martha’s?
  • When do you choose to follow Mary’s way?
  • How balanced in your life are these two ways?

Audio version – please note that the audio excludes the Readings which need to be read first.

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