Monthly Archives: July 2016

Keeping the Balance by Fr. Joel

Last week we reflected on the story of the Good Samaritan which reminded us to see those in need aMary-or-Martha-1000x563s our neighbors and assist them. This week we are reflecting on the story of Martha and Mary, the two sisters that received Jesus in their house as guest. We are called upon today to keep a balance between our activities and prayers. Martha was involved in activities while Mary was seated and listening to Jesus. Both actions are needed and required for us to become good Christians/disciples.

In the first reading we saw how Abraham welcomed three men who were passing by his house. He insisted that they stop by for him to entertain them before they proceeded on their journey. As a result of his beautiful and kind gesture, he got the promise of a child as a blessing from God. In the second, St. Paul rejoiced over the opportunity given him to suffer while rendering service to God and his people. He saw himself as an instrument of God’s mercy, goodness, and teaching to the people. While in the gospel, Martha asked Jesus and said, ‘’Lord do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? And Jesus replied her saying, ‘’ 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 must not be taken from her.’’ This sounds ridiculous to Martha and many of us today. Why should Jesus say that to her?

As Christians we are encouraged to practice the virtue of hospitality and be charitable to our neighbors especially those in need. Abraham gave us a perfect example in the first reading of today. And he was rewarded for that. Martha did good job as well by providing service to Jesus during his visit to their house. This represents and encompasses all the corporal works of mercy that we are encouraged to practice such as: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, providing home to the homeless, visiting the prisoners and the sick, and burying the dead. Mary on the other hand sat down listening to his words. Her action represented the dimension of prayer and contemplation in our lives as Christians. It is important for us to sit and listen to Jesus just as you are doing right now reflecting and savoring the sweetness of his words and his company in our lives as Mary did. This dimension encompasses all the spiritual works of mercy that we are encouraged to practice such as: admonishing sinners, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubt, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrong patiently, forgiving all injuries, and praying for both the living and the dead.

Both Martha and Mary; service and contemplation are two dimension that constitute true discipleship and are inseparable in the life of a Christian. They are meant to be integrated and not to be contrasted in our Christian lives. These dimensions enable us to practice the commandment of love to God in prayer and contemplation, and love of neighbor as ourselves in doing service to them. Therefore, Jesus’ reply to Martha’s question was to caution her not to be distracted from her service and to allow Mary to do what she was doing because it was equally important. When he said Mary chose the better part is to emphases the importance of seeking God’s will first in prayers before embarking on any service that we may want to do. You have to listen to your master’s or teacher’s instruction first before you can carry out the assignment or task given you to do. If you do not do the work according to his instructions you will not get the desired reward or credit for it.

Jesus said only one thing is needed but Martha worry about so many things. That one thing and most important thing is our salvation or going to heaven and be with the Lord. So everything we do as Christian should be geared toward salvation and heaven which is our final destination and ultimate goal. And do not do so in order to impress people rather do them so that God who sees and knows every human mind and intention will reward you accordingly. This one thing is seeking the kingdom of God first and placing God above all things in your life. And do not be distracted by any other thing else especially worldly things. Psalm 27:4 says: ‘’I ask the Lord, one thing I seek, to live in the house of the Lord.’’ In another way we could say listening to the word is much more important than preparing a banquet. Just as it is said that it is better to go where people are mourning than to go where people are celebrating; there you gain more spiritually and have the opportunity to reflect over your life. We also need to be careful not to be carried away by too much work and forget to prayer to the God that gives strength for the work. Have a blessed week.

SIXTEEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

 

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The Church is Missionary in Nature by Fr. Joel

According to the second Vatican council, the church is missionary in nature. And her Dont-Delaymission is to evangelize the world and spread the gospel of her master, Jesus Christ. All members of Christ’s church are called upon to participate in this wonderful mission of the church.

In the first reading, the prophet asked the people to rejoice with the city of Jerusalem because of her forth coming joy to them from God. God was going to bless her with abundant blessings and prosperity so that all the people in her shall be comforted and satisfied and will no longer mourn over her or lack anything. In like manner, the Psalm says we should cry out to God with joy for his wonderful blessings upon us.

In today’s gospel reading, we heard Jesus telling his disciples to rejoice that their names are written in heaven; that is after they had accomplished their mission as his disciples. Jesus himself sent seventy two disciples two by two on mission to preach the gospel to the world. These people were not prepared for this mission well ahead of time, but they responded anyway to go on this mission. All they had was their faith, trust, and experience of Jesus with them. Jesus knew they were weak but yet he called them and gave them this great mission to carry out.  And he gave them authority to preach the good news, to heal, bring people into his kingdom, and establish a community of love and peace where people will be rejoicing and praising God.

Every one of us by virtue of our baptism has been called to participate in the mission of the church like these seventy two disciples. St. Paul in the second reading said that he boast of nothing but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was proud of suffering for the sake of our Lord Jesus. And that the sacrifice of following Jesus brings about new creation, peace, love, and mercy to his people. So, because of these he endured all kinds of hardship for the sake of Christ. In the same way anyone who is called to participate in the mission of the church must experience hardship. There are very many of our brothers and sisters who are going through a lot of hard times because of the gospel of Christ in different parts of the world. However, this should not discourage us rather we should be strengthen by their courageous examples. Only through the cross the world can be saved. To participate in the mission of Christ entails carrying the cross with him like St. Paul did.

It is very important to note that Jesus asked them not to carry any luggage with them. This means anything that will serve as a distraction to the mission, especially material possession that could serve as distraction or cause delay of the spread of the gospel, should be avoided by all means. Furthermore, he sent them two by two. This is in line with the passage in Deut. 19: 15 that says; the testimony of two witnesses is required to for establishing a truth. Therefore, the disciples needed other persons to testify to their teaching of the gospel. He also said to them that the harvest is plenty but there are few laborers, so they should pray for more people to join them in this mission. We are having a similar situation today in the church that is why we are praying for more vocations. There is also some sense of urgency to their mission of spreading the gospel because there are many people out there who have not yet heard about the gospel; and others who heard but did not understand or believe it. Therefore, there is need for us to act without delay to make sure that everyone hears this gospel of Christ so that they too can be saved by Jesus. Jesus encouraged them not to bother about what to eat or where to stay because the people to whom they were sent to would provide for their needs. Hence, the saying, the laborer deserves his wages. Therefore, as we contribute and pay our tithes to the church, our ministers, staff, and facilities are being maintained from that. Jesus also warns them about wolves that might want to devour them in the course of their mission. This refers to opponents and persecutors. So, they should watch out for such people and situations.

Every one of is called to this mission in different ways and times. Therefore, all should endeavor to participate according to our calling to bring people into the kingdom of God. Many people need to hear the gospel and to receive from us charitable gestures that will uplift their souls. There are so many problems and challenges faced by many people and they need our help to get out of such situations. We have been called to go on this mission to bring the good news to them. And now is the time, please respond without any delay.

FOURTEEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C