• All
  • Spiritual Food

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Dear parishioners, Martha and Mary are sisters that are said to represent the “active” life and the “contemplative” life, respectively. That is a very well received interpretation of this text and of course, it has its merits. However, it is perhaps slightly inadequate when it is used to compare these two “vocations” in the Church. To “contemplate” the Lord is objectively the final goal of everyone’s existence, although without excluding the love of neighbor in any way. Furthermore, even if the final goal of my life is predominantly a contemplative one, it does not mean that a saint’s very active life of charity is missing out on a more contemplative style of life. You can be a saint either way! If we look more closely, we will see that the Lord is not merely reproaching Martha for her choice of serving the meal, neither is he forcing the comparison to her sister’s choice of sitting by His feet to listen to Him. Martha is the one drawing the comparison and forcing herself into the conversation between Jesus and Mary. She is even questioning the Lord’s authority, as He seems not to notice the “unfairness” of the situation, and then she goes so far as to tell Him what He should say to her sister. Therefore, she interrupts the Lord’s speech (the Word of God Himself), she questions His awareness and His wisdom, then she attempts to instruct the Word of God what it is He should be saying. That is what needs to be addressed and corrected! Not the charitable choice of serving her brother and sister! Jesus would never do that, because it makes no sense. What we see here in this Gospel is that Martha is in some way “taken” up by her work. She is not in full possession of herself. One could say that she is “possessed” by her work, which is MANY. The “many” has dispersed her, and she is no longer in control, neither is she fully ‘there’. The result of that is the behavior we have just described. Jesus then calls her back to herself: “Martha, Martha”… She is then led to realise that only ONE is necessary. We are made for that ONE. We also have the vocation to submit the MANY to that ONE. That will never happen if we lose ourselves in the process. If we end up “possessed” by the MANY, we will not be able to submit all things to Christ. Work is great, to get things done is great! But sometimes we’re just “busy”. This Gospel shows us some signs of when we start to lose control… Be aware that to love God is also to bring all things into submission to Him through charity. That is what is meant when we say that all of the baptised are KINGS! Well understood and well ordered, our life of service is just as valuable as our contemplative life. Father Sean Mary

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Dear Parishioners, In today’s gospel we see Jesus showing how we can truly love our neighbor.  Which neighbor?  The one who we desire to “pass by” because we fear that we too will become ‘unclean’ by touching him.  The one who we see as unworthy of our time and energy because the suffering they are going through, well, “they deserve it”.     If love of neighbor and love of God are two sides of the same coin then we could say on one side there is no need for us to show mercy or pity!  God does not need our compassion, for it’s in His nature to have compassion on us!  Not only are we created beings, but we are also in need of the healing and sanctification of our souls.  Out of His love God bends down to man and this all stems from his loving nature, for “God is Love”.  When we stoop down to others as Jesus did when he humbled Himself and ‘took the form of a slave’ to redeem mankind and each one of our souls, we are truly beginning to ‘imitate Christ’.   This imitation of Christ occurs when we truly enter into the life of the other in a personal way.  We need to ask for the courage to enter into the suffering and pain of another and also pray for the grace that we keep our inner balance and peace as we do it! And an amazing thing happens as we practice compassion: the suffering is transformed into something beautiful.  The deep and sorrowful compassion of certain saints have allowed them to cry out ‘I would die a thousand deaths to save one soul!’.   Where do we encounter such people today as we see in the gospel – those left on the side of the road to die?  Do we know anyone who is in need of compassion?  Do we ‘go the extra mile’ for such people when they come across our path?   Remember too, that this mercy and compassion can take on an infinite number of forms as well.  It can be that ‘tough love’ when we need to show a firmness or when we need to discipline. You can think of your children, for example, who need rules, discipline and good morals ingrained.  Whether it’s bending down to pick up those who are suffering, disciplining a child, or anything in between, if this mercy is motivated by charity you are on the right path.  Practically speaking, each day we can cultivate an attitude of ‘benevolence’ by constantly asking ourselves “what is the good for this person?” and couple that thought with a little prayer to the Holy Spirit to show us the way.  Father Philip