“Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
We are in need of dynamic disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that are able to set their hearts on Jesus. As disciples a true spirit of hospitality and welcome are required. Now more than ever I believe that true Dynamic Disciples are needed to meet the challenges of our society and our world. We see to often a self-centered focus in a me/mine cultures that alienates instead of includes. It sets expectations and restrictions on truly living in a dynamic way to transform our world to a place of Justice, love and equality.
The word of God sends a clear message today. As a disciple of Jesus Christ we have a great responsibility to live a dynamic faith. In morning prayer this week the letter of Peter spoke profoundly to choosing Jesus and listening to Him, while at the same time Courageously living the Gospel through dynamic service using our gifts for God’s glory and the good of others.
1 Peter 4:10-11
Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others. If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God; if you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God’s orders; so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ, since to him alone belong all glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Our lives are called to be caught up in Christ in the service of others. Both are required. In the first reading this weekend from Gn 18:1-10 we find Abraham receiving three visitors. In the midst of their arrival he scrambles to offer hospitality. He calls Sarah to make rolls, he calls for a calf to be prepared. Wow, what a feast he prepares. Abraham’s response must be our response to the visitor, the stranger the immigrant those who come to us. His posture is one of great respect and honor to those who arrived so unexpectedly that he found at his front door!
Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
As I reflect on the position of Abraham it calls to mind the true spirit of who we are called to be as Church and as a nation. We must be a community and people of welcome that see in each person great value. The stranger is received, welcomed and in a dynamic way recognized as having great value and great worth. We are most grateful to those who bring the gift of their identity and abilities to our church and community. We have much to learn from the scriptures on how the “other” ought to be regarded and treated. Not rejected and turned away, but received, and dynamically shown that they are valued.
In having shown great respect in welcoming the stranger, look at the level of blessing that comes forth.
“They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.” She who was barren, having shown great love to the stranger the visitor has now been promised great blessing.
In the Gospel Martha is busy because Jesus is visiting. In the midst of her being busy about much worrying, she tells Jesus to have her sister Mary help her. Mary on the other hand has joined the men and positioned herself in the role of a disciple. In ancient Israel just as in many cultures the women would normally be in the kitchen, cooking and preparing, while the men would gather outside. With the presence of a Rabbi they would sit at his feet and listen to his teaching. Mary now changes up the prescribed role of woman as subservient, to a women as a disciple. Jesus does not allow her to be robbed of this role, he says Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.
To be a dynamic disciples in choosing to follow Jesus both service and contemplation are required. One must be able to be in the presence of Jesus to receive His guidance and teaching before one steps out in action in service. The prayer, contemplation, meditation is first and the works of service are fruits of that time with the Master. A true dynamic disciples prayers and seeks Christ direction in all that they do. As disciples of Jesus women and men alike, we must seek Christ and to go boldy to serve Him in our brothers and sisters.
Holiness is also parrhesía: boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. “Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission.” If we dare to go to the fringes, we will find Jesus already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, their troubles and their profound desolation.
Pope Francis speaks to this dynamic disciple in GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE when he calls us to holinness “boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. “Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission.” If we dare to go to the fringes, we will find Jesus already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, their troubles and their profound desolation.” This is the deepest level of both contemplation and service to encounter and listen to Christ in the midst mission.
From the summary of the Apostolic Exhortation GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE of the Holy Father Pope Francis on the call to holiness in today’s world has been distributed to journalists by the Holy See.