I ask myself, how often have I betrayed a truth that I know out of fear? I pray for the strength, fortitude, wisdom, trust, and faith to cease acting out of fear and accept the responsibility to act out of love and truth.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
21 July 2013 - 16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Liturgy in Honour Saint Mary of Magdala
First Reading:Genesis 18.1-10a
Responsorial Psalm:Psalm 15
Second Reading:Colossians 1.24-28
Gospel: Luke 10.38-42
is the dominant theme in today’s first reading and Gospel.But what is hospitality?The dictionary says it is “The friendly and
generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”Some of us are influenced to practice
hospitality by the quotation from Hebrews chapter 13, verse 2, often associated
with Dorothy Day, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by
doing that, some have entertained angels without knowing it.”But fewer of us have connected it with the
verse immediately before it, which says, “Let mutual love continue.”This suggests that for people of faith,
hospitality is motivated by love and is a mutual demonstration of love.Generosity is a key component of hospitality
as demonstrated in the first reading.Abraham
served the best of what he had to his guests.Their gift to Abraham was the announcement that he and Sarah would have
a son, even though Sarah was past child bearing age.
Saturday, we had the opportunity to experience the mutuality of
hospitality.The Director of Hummingbird
Ministries, Rev. Mary Fontaine, and two other Aboriginal Elders, Ruth Adams and
Laura Fortin, came to visit our community as a follow-up to our earlier KAIROS
meeting on reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples.Mary led us in a talking circle where we all
shared what hospitality meant to us from our specific ancestral and family
backgrounds and what hospitality meant to us as individuals.As each person spoke, it was clear that all
of us in the circle thought hospitality was more than the dictionary definition.At the close of the circle, the Elders gave
each of us a gift and the community gave a gift to Hummingbird Ministries.We continued our sharing over the potluck
supper.Listening to each other, sharing
stories, food and time, we started the day as strangers but I think everyone
who was there would say that we ended the day as friends.I think that is what hospitality does.
Gospel, Jesus does not chastise Mary for not helping Martha.More importantly, he doesn’t chastise Martha
for “being distracted by her many tasks.”He knows someone has to tend to the practical side of entertaining.Someone has to prepare the food.But that’s just the surface story.The story of Mary and Martha calls us to look
deeper into hospitality.
Luke’s Gospel, the story just before this is the parable of the Good
Samaritan.That story answers the
question, “who is our neighbour?”It
demonstrates what it means to love our neighbour. So let’s look at the deeper
meaning of what Luke is trying to tell us here.
all both Mary and Martha. These days especially, some of us─- including me─ can
get so busy, with what we think we must get done, that we neglect to chose the
better part.Just as in the example of
our talking circle, hospitality includes listening.We need to take the time to listen to what
Jesus is saying to us.Our Catholic
tradition is a wealth of ready made prayers.We have a tendency to play down the contemplative styles of prayer.We have come to know prayer as “talking” to
God.But that is only one part of what
prayer is; the other part is listening to God.Just as we are called to practice hospitality to our neighbour, we are
called to listen, to open the doors of our hearts to hear what God has to say
to us.The story of Mary and Martha
shows us how we can get to know God better.It presents us with another way to show God our love; through the
hospitality of an open, listening heart.
Now, I invite you to share your
thoughts on hospitality.