Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Better Part

The Better Part

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2013 C
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
Looking up, 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.  Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.  Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.”  Genesis 18:2-5
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.  Colossians 1:24-26a
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  Luke 10:40-42


When a guest comes, Christ comes.  Welcome him.  The Benedictines make a big thing of hospitality.  They treat the guest as Christ.  Our piety is a mixture of Martha and Mary.  Christ takes the reality of who we are and works in all of us as we are.  Activists are always at work doing what they think needs doing.  Contemplatives work at what must be done so that they might be free to pray.  The pure Contemplative makes work subservient to prayer.  They work hard and fast that they might be free to pray.  The Contemplative in action makes work prayer.  Such a one allows the Lord to work a 100% in their work.  They work as if all depends upon God and they pray as if it all depended upon them.  Mary in our gospel story is the pure Contemplative.  Mary in the words of Christ has chosen the better part.  She sits at the feet of Christ listening and relishing the presence.  Whether we are pure Contemplatives or not we all need some sitting at the feet of Christ.  Prayer can turn our work into prayer. 


We need to increase our awareness of the different ways we can be close to Christ.  Eucharist gives us the chance to be pure contemplatives.  We have the chance in every Eucharist to be taken up into Christ even as we take him into ourselves.  Eucharist allows us to grow into Christ.  We know we are created in the image and the likeness of Christ.  Eucharist, our going to Communion, allows us to become Christ to our family and friends.  When we make up what is wanting to the suffering of Christ in his Church we become Christ to our Church by being the suffering of Christ for his Church.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament becomes a wonderful chance to listen to Christ as we adore the gift he gives us iof being one of us even as we lose ourselves in becoming his life to our world. 


Our deepest joy can be found in filling up what is wanting to the suffering of Christ’s Body, the Church.  Vatican II defines the church as the people of God.  Pious XII called the Church the Mystical Body of Christ.  How we see ourselves in Christ is a gradual becoming awake to the truth of ourselves.  We can never fully know ourselves before we have found ourselves in Christ.  The great actions of our lives will live out the call to preach the gospel of Christ by our lives even as we occasionally use words.  Our actions bring to completion the Good News of Christ.  God so loved the world that he gave us his son so that in his death on the cross we might see the length, breadth and depth of God’s mercy and love for us.  God loves us so much that he sends us his son to be one of us.  We are by our actions and sacrifices capable of being Christ to our world.  Our spirituality puts on the mind and heart of Christ.  In our Resurrection we will become the fullness of what we see in Christ.  

No comments: