Work and Pray

07-17-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, VC

The theme of hospitality runs through the first reading and the Gospel today. In the first reading, Abraham showed hospitality to strangers not knowing that they were messengers of God. It turned out that the visitors were angels of God who came in human form. They were happy with Abraham and assured him that God would bless him and his wife, Sarah, with a son. In the Gospel, we heard that Jesus visited the family of Mary and Martha. We are told that the two sisters used two different approaches in expressing their hospitality to Jesus. While Martha was very busy trying to prepare food for Jesus, Mary was sittng at the feet of Jesus, listening to him.

There are people who see Martha in this story as representing people who are materialistic and too busy with work that they have little or no time to pray, while Mary represents those who focus more on the relationship with the Lord than material things. However, the overall message from this story is not so much for us to identify ourselves with either Mary or Martha, but rather to identify with both. It is about the need to find a balance between work and prayer. We all have a little bit of Mary and Martha in us.

The scripture readings today remind us to be kind to strangers and try to reach out to those who need our help. In doing so, we are welcoming Jesus himself: “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Ma‚ hew 25:35). We are also reminded to always make time to pray, no ma‚ er how busy we are.

I am glad that the motto of our St. Benedict Parish is, “Where All Are Welcome.” Hospitality was one of the key principles of St. Benedict when he founded his community. He insisted that no visitor should ever be turned away from his monastery. In general, every Catholic parish is expected to be welcoming and a home for everyone, that is why we are called “Catholic” meaning universal. Being a welcoming parish community goes beyond greeting each other during Mass. We need to live it out in every aspect of our community life. I thank the members of our St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus, the Refugee Ministry, the Pastoral Care Ministry, and other ministries who are reaching out to those in need in our neighborhood and surrounding communities.

Fr. James