21 July – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus Our Friend
THe mystery of today’s celebration is Christ among us as our friend. We welcome him as Abraham welcomed the Lord at Mamre, and Martha and Mary welcomed Christ at Bethany.
– The Sunday Missal
The Lord appeared to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and bowed to the ground. ‘My lord,’ he said ‘I beg you, if I find favour with you, kindly do not pass your servant by. A little water shall be brought; you shall wash your feet and lie down under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you shall refresh yourselves before going further. That is why you have come in your servant’s direction.’ They replied, ‘Do as you say.’
Abraham hastened to the tent to find Sarah.’ ‘Hurry,’ he said ‘knead three bushels of flour and make loaves.’ Then running to the cattle Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking cream, milk and the calf he had prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.
‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘She is in the tent’ he replied. Then his guest said, ‘I shall visit you again next year without fail, and your wife will then have a son.’
It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ.
Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’
It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her
My conversations with friends sometimes dwell on the status of our relationship with God and they are always amazed at the fact that I treat Jesus as a friend. Their impression of God is often more of being a Lord and Master who has dominion over them and guides them to do whatever He plans for them. The readings for today introduces a different perspective of Jesus which I find is timely because it enables us to discover a different meaning of what it means to be with God.
Jesus wanted Martha to understand that in His presence, all the activities of our daily life should stop and we should direct our attention to Him. This is especially so since we are often distracted by the cares of life and neglect to identify the fact that we are Christians and thus our responsibility should be towards God. In particular, it will be good if we could orientate our lives and direction towards understanding what He wants from us. This should not take place in the form of a forced direction but more of a dialogue and conversation with God.
A conversation with God requires us to put in our whole-hearted attention to Him and this is best found in prayer where God speaks to us and we listen. God speaks to us through His scripture, people whom know us well enough to want to walk with us along the journey of life and sometimes through the actions and words of others. In all these matters, let us never forget that it is God who desires us to enter into a relationship built on love and trust.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for all who seek you with a sincere heart
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all Spiritual Directors.