A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7.17.16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I suppose that there are many injustices in the world. We know that this life, this world, is NOT always fair. And yet, as God’s people we are constantly working towards justice for all people. But we know that there are many who work long hard hours every day, and are paid pennies for their efforts. We know that there are people all over the world who are discriminated against because of their age, or race, or religion, or the way they look. We know that many in our world today don’t have basic opportunities for food, shelter, or education. Life is NOT fair. I’m still trying to figure out why is it so easy and fun to gain weight, and why is it so difficult and an not-so-fun to lose weight. If this world were just, doing sit-ups would be a blast, and eating chocolate cake would be repulsive. But that’s just not the way that it is.
Today, in Gospel, Jesus brings us into this situation that we all also know, is NOT fair, is NOT right. He goes to His friends’ house, and one sister is sitting there listening to Him. And the other sister is running around like a chicken with her head cut off! There is a fairness situation here, a matter of justice. Not only should Jesus have told Mary to help her sister, but probably He Himself should have gotten up and helped her out, if she was really this stressed out about this visit. This is a justice issue. Why is this one poor woman doing all the work, and why is nobody helping her? And where was Lazarus? Who knows what he was doing?
And just like last week with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, just when we think we know the way that this story is going to go, Jesus doesn’t tell Mary to help Martha out. Instead, Jesus seems to reprimand Martha, and tells her that Mary has chosen the better portion.
Now, what is going on here? Jesus is reminding Martha and all of us, that we can be too busy, even for all the right reasons! If we’re running around like a chicken with our heads cut off, if we are stressed out, if we are angry at everybody around us, for not helping us out, then something is NOT right. Jesus seems to imply that Martha has mixed up her priorities. She needs to spend time with God, and listen to God, and she needs the interior peace to keep doing all her responsibilities. Jesus isn’t telling Martha to ignore her responsibilities. He’s looking forward to a great dinner. He likes the fact that their house is clean and welcoming. He’s glad that everything is prepared for His visit. Jesus isn’t saying that it is “either or”. Jesus is reminding us that for us as Christians, especially as Catholic Christians, that it has to be both. Yes, we’ve got to do our work. Yes, we’ve got to take care of our responsibilities. But yes, we’ve also got to stay rooted in prayer, in His Word, in reflection, and in spending time with Him. We forget about those things and we do get stressed out, we do get upset, and we do lose our way! And like Martha, so many times maybe we think that it’s about justice, when in actuality it is because we have the wrong priorities, and we’re making the wrong choices.
I think, today we’ve got a lot of stressed out people. I talk to a lot of them every day. We need God. We need God’s love, and peace, and strength in our lives. And when we try to do this life without God and without God’s help, well, is it any wonder that we drive ourselves crazy. Mary did have it right. Mary chose the better portion. Hopefully, Mary got her chores done BEFORE Jesus got there, but Mary knew what was most important.
This week, we’ve got to know what’s most important. Daily Mass, reading the Bible, stopping by the Adoration Chapel, reading a good Catholic book, praying the Rosary, ALL of these things keep us grounded in this life and keep us from getting stressed out. Like Mary, may we know where to turn. And may God help all of us, to take care of our responsibilities!
May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!