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16th Sunday of Year C – 2019

The texts offered to us in the Bible sometimes present us with… the world upside down!
This seems to be the case in today’s 1st reading (Gn.18:1-10).

Abraham sees three people nearing his home – three passers-by unknown to him.
In such a case, we would expect the strangers to present themselves and ask for hospitality if they need it.
This is not at all what we see happening.

First, in those three personages, Abraham recognizes the Almighty –
the ONE God he worships.

Then, far from being asked for assistance, he is the one who begs the visitors
to accept the hospitality which he offers them in a truly warm manner.
He describes for them what his welcome entails –
a festive meal that would surely delight hungry pilgrims!

The icon often used to evoke the Holy Trinity is, in fact, an illustration of this scene: 
the three visitors at table having been served the promised meal.
Reflecting on the text and the scene it describes, two questions arise:

  • Do we recognize God when he comes to us… and in whatever form he choose to reach us?
  • Do we welcome him as generously as Abraham did?

The answer to these two questions could well bring about some amazing change in our life…
Of course, this supposes that we accept to be sometimes surprised by God –
a God we may think we know and yet…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:

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16th Sunday of the Year, C

Martha, againComparisons, contrasts – they are part of our daily life and in all kinds of situations.
From them, a judgement arises deciding that things are different, equivalent, or plainly opposite!

The texts of the liturgy of this Sunday (16th, year C) present us with situations that reflect this.
In the 1st reading (Gn.18:1-10), we hear Abram telling his wife Sarah to hurry and prepare some food for the visitors who have come to their house.

The gospel scene (Lk.10:38-42) shows us a woman, Martha, doing exactly that for the special visitor who has come to their home.
But the visitor, Jesus, is the one now inviting his host NOT to hurry, not to fret about preparing food for him.

Jesus wants Martha to attend to him, yes, but attend to him by simply being there!
He insists that only one thing is necessary – that of sitting at his feet and listening to him, as her sister Mary is doing.

The comparison made between her and her sister must be somehow unwelcome to Martha.
She must find it unpleasant to be told to do what Mary does when Martha wanted the opposite: that Mary does a bit of the work that she, Martha, has been busy with.

It is somehow as if Jesus turns things around.
Last week, the gospel message was that we should not ask who is our neighbour but rather of whom we should make ourselves the neighbour.
This week, Jesus received as a guest in Bethany is the one inviting Martha to be his guest – a guest to whom he offers the most precious food: a sharing in his message about who he is, who the Father is.

No need to worry and to fret – that food is always ready, always available, and sufficient to satisfy all our needs!

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