Homily: July 21, 2013

+Peace and goodness to you this day!

We’ve all been there before.  Someone that we care a great deal about is coming to visit.  It could be a family member, an old friend, a classmate from long ago, or maybe even someone that we don’t know that well.  And all you really want is for the visit to go well.  You want everything to go smoothly.  You want to be a good host and show great hospitality.  Whether you entertain guests a lot or only once in a great while, we all know the checklist that you go through:  Where are they going to stay?  What are they going to eat?  What are they going to need while they are here?  How we going to entertain them?  How can we show our guests that we are happy to have them with us?  We all know these questions and considerations, because we’ve all had to ask ourselves these questions in preparation to show hospitality.  Maybe if we don’t like the people coming to visit, or if we don’t care about them or the time and experience that they have while they are visiting us, well then things might be different.  But good hospitality is meant to show our care and concern.  The Bible calls us all to go hospitality.  And good hospitality is a lot of work.  As certainly is Mary’s experience in our Gospel today.

We don’t know what happened.  Did Jesus come early?  Were all those teachings about “staying awake” and “being ready at all times” meant to be a warning for Mary and Martha?  Did the sisters just get behind?  You know, too many things to do, and not enough time to do them all.  Whatever happened, Jesus is right there in their house, and things are not ready.  Ouch!  How embarrassing!  Was the food not ready?  Was the bathroom not cleaned?  Were the drinks not cold yet?  Did somebody forget to put out clean towels?  We don’t know what wasn’t taken care of, but what we do know is, that Jesus comes in, and Martha just keeps working.  Martha is on the job.  She is not going to sit down until everything is taken care of and she can finally have a relaxing evening with their friend, Jesus.  The problem with this, is the fact that this way of thinking leaves Jesus on His own for however long it takes for Martha to get done.  Thank God, for Mary, right, at least somebody was paying attention to their guests, because it sure wasn’t Martha!

Now, all the Type-A personalities, all of those of us with oldest-child-syndrome, all the work-a-holics amongst us, and all of us who take responsibility for getting the job done,  and thank God, that includes a lot of us here today, we want to cry out every time we hear this Gospel, “Hey, leave poor Martha alone!”  It’s like we feel like Martha is getting a bad rap, or something.  We are protective of Martha, because an awful lot of us are LIKE Martha!  We get so caught up in our work, our projects, our hospitality, and we lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it.  Martha’s sin wasn’t that she was hard worker or that she took great responsibility.  Martha’s sin is that she’s got God right in front of her, and she can’t quit working.  She can’t stop even when the reason for her work is sitting in front of her without her paying attention to Him!  She’s doing the right things for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.

My brothers and sisters, this story of Martha and Mary is meant to really challenge us.  We should hear this story today and all the little hairs on the back our necks should stand straight up on end.  How many times are we so busy, how many times are we too busy, that we may be doing the “right” things, but in the middle of our hectic busyness of doing all the right things, we ignore God.  Sometimes we are even so busy doing things for God, and we still ignore Him, when all He really wants for us, is to sit and listen and be quiet.  God needs all of us to do His work for Him.  We are His hands, His feet, His arms, and His ears and mouths.  But sometimes, just like Martha, God just wants to just be with Him.  And this is for our benefit much more than it is for God’s benefit.  We need that time.  We need that peace.  We, all of us, need to give God that opportunity in our lives.  And we can’t do that if we’re too busy.  We can’t do that if we’re running around like a chicken with our head cut-off.  We forget why were doing, what we’re doing.  And that’s never good!

Let us understand clearly the message of Jesus’ criticism of Martha today, so that one day, on Judgment Day, we won’t have to hear the same thing.

+May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                      AMEN !!!

+St. Maria Goretti…                    Pray for us !!!