Theme: OUR GOOD WORKS AND SERVICES MUST COME FROM THE WORD OF GOD, FROM FAITH, AND FROM PRAYER
- Genesis 18:1-10;
- Psalm 14 (15):2-5. R/ v. 1;
- Colossians 1:24-28
- Luke 10:38-42
Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus was in the house of Martha and Mary, and Martha was busy serving. She was preparing a meal, but Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Jesus speaking. At this Martha complained to Jesus to ask Mary to help her in her work, but Jesus chided her and told her that she was busy over many things, yet only one thing was needed and Mary had chosen the better part and it would not be taken from her!
The gospel today does not tell us that good works and services are not important, but the gospel tells us that the word of God is more important, because all our good works and services must flow from the word of God, from faith, and from prayer, in short, from God! Otherwise our services may become self-services and our good works may become empty and boring activities devoid of meaning!
Indeed the “Gospel Acclamation” today tells us to respond to the word of God with generosity and perseverance and we will bear fruit! (NJBC; CSB) Thus we read in the “Gospel Acclamation” which is taken from the explanation of the “Parable of the Sower”:
“Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.” (cf. Lk 8:15)
And indeed in the “Parable of the Sower”, we are told that in spite of the devil, the persecutions and the temptations of the world, the word of God will ultimately bear fruit in abundance, that is, a hundredfold! (NJBC; CSB; IBC) Thus we read:
“And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.” (Luke 8:8; NJB)
Again, our good works and services must come from the word of God, from faith and from prayer, that is, from God! The word of God gives faith and we respond to the word of God in prayer and God will act in and through us, in and through our good works and services!
The first reading tells us that Abraham welcomed three men, that is, the Lord and two angels! Abraham prepared a meal for them and waited on them! More importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord promised Abraham a son in his old age!
In the context of today’s gospel where Martha welcomed Jesus into her house and Mary welcomed Jesus into her heart, the first reading tells us to welcome Jesus into our home and heart and we will receive eternal life! Jesus the word of God is spirit and life! He has the message of eternal life! (“Gospel Acclamation” of previous Sunday; cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) The son symbolizes eternal life! One’s life continues in the son!
The responsorial psalm is an entrance liturgy for entry into the temple. The responsorial psalm has five verses. The first verse is the question the worshipers ask the temple official, that is, what qualifications are required to enter the temple. The four verses that follow are the answer to the question, that is, the requirements.
Again, in the context of today’s gospel, the responsorial psalm tells us that when we welcome Jesus into our house and heart, like Martha and Mary, respectively, we “will live in the presence of the Lord” (Response), and we will also love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Lev 19:18), as spelled out in the eleven moral conducts from verses two to five (IBC), that is:
(1) “Walk without fault.” (2) “Act with justice.” (3) “Speak the truth from one’s heart.” (4) “Do not slander.” (5) “Do no wrong to one’s brother.” (6) “Cast no slur on one’s neighbor.” (7) “Hold the godless in disdain.” (8) “Honor those who fear the Lord.” (9) “Keep one’s pledge.” (10) “Take no interest on a loan.” (11) “Accept no bribes against the innocent.”
Finally, in the second reading, Saint Paul tells us that he suffers for the proclamation of the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the pagans! It is a mystery hidden for ages, but is now revealed for the salvation of the pagans!
Today we thank God for the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, and we ask God to help us proclaim his word, that is, Jesus Christ, to the whole world, so that all may believe and be saved!
Today we also thank God for all the good works, services and activities in our parish! We believe that all our good works, services and activities are from the word of God, from faith, from prayer and from God! This is because in our parish we have the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Charismatic Renewal, the Alpha Course, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), and most importantly, the Sunday Mass! All these are centered on the word of God, on faith, on prayer and on God!
A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.