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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 18, 2010 - 16th Sunday of the Year

The homily from last week is in the library>>>
The readings for this Sunday are found at>>>
I am presiding at the 11:00am and 12:30pm Masses on Sunday 7/18

Y'all come,now! Y'hear?

The story of Martha and Mary is so famous that most adult Catholics will use their names on occasion to indicate two "different but complementary" personalities or people.

There are traditional and ancient interpretations of this Sunday's scene but the one that captured my attention was that which reflects upon the astounding position that Mary has assumed in this picture and that Jesus has permitted her.

In Jesus' time we know that he was not a man of convention,especially as it relates to foreigners, sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, the unclean, the leper, the dead, and women. Jesus broke convention for the sake of the kingddom of God. All are called to and have access to the Kingdom as disciples of Jesus the master.

This universal discipleship is no better portrayed than Mary, a woman whose place is in the kitchen, taking the disciple's place at the feet of the Master, Jesus. Not only does Mary dare to do it and Jesus "permits" it - Jesus refutes Martha's criticism and says, "she has chosen it and it shall not be denied her" - he defends it.

Mary's premier place at Jesus' feet was reserved for the scholars, siciples (read men)that would customarily gather with Jesus in the "parlor" while dinner was being prepared(by the women). Not just any men but only those who had been accepted into his tutelage, his circle of learning.

I am suspecting that most adult Catholics (that would include young adults) do not see themselves as called, welcomed, or entitled to the role of disciple. Members, maybe. Servants, possibly. Spectators or casual observers, probably. But disciples in the inner circle of the Master Jesus - that is for someone else.

This Gospel text and the scene from the book of Genesis in the first reading are repeating the message to all of us that God is accessible and that we are called to intimacy "at his feet." We cannot excuse ourseles from or criticize others for assuming that intimate posture within the circle of God's love and life.

This time of renewal of our parish ministries is a perfect time for us to re-evaluate where we are in the picture? Are we comfortable with the role of disciple, sitting close to the heart of God? Are we a reluctant observer of religion - it's just not for me? Are we jealous of others thinking that somehow we are not welcomed?

The truth is that we are all not only welcomed but called - universal discipleship and we need to get into the picture.


Faith said...

I have a friend, Diane, who I try to visit each Sunday. She has survived two brain aneurisms and now lives in a nursing home at the age of 63. As you can imagine, her ability to verbally communicate is quite impaired - but she continues to try. Because of my knowledge of her over the last 15 years or so, and because I know of her loving heart, I usually have at least a vague idea of what she is trying to say. The saddest thing is that over the last few weeks she has been trying to express her realization and horror that she is aware she is losing her mind. She KNOWS that her thoughts are jumbled and that they aren’t coming together for her…let alone being able to express them to me or others. So this week, this Scripture reading and the Matador’s beautiful reflection hold significant meaning for me. Diane would love nothing more than to sit at the feet of Jesus, to comprehend what He has to say, to be in the place of a scholar.
In her past, Diane sang in the church choir and helped decorate for the various liturgical seasons. She was known and appreciated for her active participation. Now living at the nursing home, she is one that activity directors seek out – someone energetic enough and still cognizant enough that they can interact with her. She doesn’t see it, but she is of great help and value to people around her.
Through all of this Diane continues to treasure receiving Holy Communion. In “not so many words” she expresses her appreciation for the Eucharist and for a connection with the Body of Christ. Fr. Estok’s reflection is helping me consider Diane’s Martha-ness and Mary-ness (not to mention my own of each, too!). She still lives out both of these “personalities ” in her own way, but most importantly I think she truly wants to live as a disciple and, like most of us, is trying to figure out how that is to be done.

Anonymous said...

Diane in all her sufferings and difficult situation, is the closest one person can be in God's heart. She is imitating Jesus up in the Cross, she is a disciple and an example for all of us.
Try to explain to her the best you can that she doesn't need to figure out the "why" of her situation. It's God's will for her. God loves her so very much. Try to accept, this is hard!
You both can be contemplative as Mary was. Just sit together, hold hands, close your eyes... be silent...Let thoughs go...and ALLOW GOD! Love for you both! P.

Faith said...

Thanks for your reflection, P. It is meaningful and dear. God bless.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful thoughts F and P!

Martha complains, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” There is irony in the request. Mary seems to be suggesting that the Lord is part of the problem, allowing Mary to relax in His presence and not seeing that Martha needs help.

Jesus sees Martha’s problem to be her fixation on anxiety and worry. Her obsession with sharing the work leads to her impatience and resentment and probably some jealousy towards Mary. Like Matador said, in that time, a woman's place was in the kitchen, definitely not at the honored place at Jesus' feet. How could Mary be there when it was so important to serve their honored guest?

I can certainly relate to Martha because like her we have our own fixations and preoccupations that take our eyes off Christ. We are anxious about our jobs, our health, our opportunities and our relationships. We too easily forget the loving providence of the Lord while turning over our lives to obsessions and anxieties.

The Matador's reflection this week brings me a sense of peace, reminding me to "check my anxieties at the door," to trust in God, focus only on Him and His words.

Matador said...

Great and helpful insights for your preacher, friends. Peace