Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Readings: Genesis 18:1-10; Colossians 1:24-28; Lk.10:38-4
Being with Christ and doing things for the Lord are the two phrases that capture best the message of this Sunday. The readings of this Sunday focus our attention on the Christian values of welcome and hospitality that pave the way for the presence of Christ in our lives and our homes. It is in this context that Paul in the second reading speaks about “a mystery that has been hidden for ages” that has now been revealed to God’s Holy Ones. When the Church uses the term mystery, it goes much deeper than the secular meaning of mystery. For the Church a mystery is a truth that is incomprehensible by reason and knowable only through divine revelation. The Early Church referred to the sacraments as “mysteries”. When adults are about to come into the faith they are anointed with the Oil of Catechumens so they may have the strength and the grace to be open to learn the Mystery of faith, namely the events of the action of Jesus Christ in the world. At the most solemn moment in the Mass, after the Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, we are called upon to proclaim the Mystery of Faith, and so we respond by proclaiming Christ’s death, resurrection and that He will come again. Paul, therefore reminds the Colossians and us that we have received the Mystery that Christ is in us. Christ is the reason for our being, for our doing and our final destiny.
The Gospel reminds us of that mystery of Christ’s presence in the lives of two women. Martha is busy doing things for Christ, while Mary, her sister, is concerned with being with Jesus. Instead of focusing on Jesus out there somewhere, we need to focus on Jesus present right here, in your lives, in your family and in others, in the Church and in the world. Just as God enters into the presence of Abraham who welcomes the three mysterious strangers in the first reading, so too Christ enters into the presence of Martha and Mary who joyfully welcome Jesus in their home. The story of Martha and Mary underlines two aspects of Christian life. On the one hand, we have a dimension of “being with the Lord” like Mary. Being in quiet presence with Christ gives us the space to pause and read our road map; to listen to the Lord for guidance; and to regain our sense of direction. On the other hand, we need to “do things” for the Lord like Martha. However we can be so active that we forget prayer or neglect “being with Christ.” Therefore we need to balance both ways. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) Just as God enters into the presence of Abraham in welcoming the three mysterious strangers, so too does God enter into our presence in welcoming everyone who comes our way. 2) Christian values of welcome and hospitality point to the mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives and in our homes. 3) We need to find a balance between our “being with Christ” like Mary, and our “doing things for the Lord” like Martha.
©2016 John S. Mbinda