Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hear Me, Open and Dine with Me

By Beth DeCristofaro

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.”  The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.” (Genesis 18:2-5)

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)

It is when we are still
that we know.
It is when we listen
that we hear.
It is when we remember
that we see your light, O God.
From your Stillness
we come.
With your Sound
all life quivers with being.
From You
the light of this moment shines.
Grant us to remember you at the heart of each moment.
Grant us to remember.
  John Philip Newell, Praying With the Earth[i].

Abraham’s efforts on behalf of his guests speak not only to his people’s culture of hospitality but also to the generous efforts that he commits in the face of the divine.  Is his lavish welcome and bestowing of honor part of why God singled him out, granting that his descendants will number as the stars?  Why is his effort different than Martha’s who also rushed around to prepare food and comfort for Jesus and guests? 

No less generous is Martha.  Perhaps it is her attitude.  She scurries and hurries with the effort, frustrated to be hostess without helpers.  She complains to Jesus – a very good listener for any complaint – who answers her with an answer she most needs to hear.  “Slow down, Martha.  Make space for me, Martha.  Be my disciple rather than my maid, Martha.”  The Communion Antiphon for the Mass of the Day comes from Revelations: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”  Perhaps Jesus wants her to open her door and look at him, allowing Him to look back at her rather than to scrub the door and the floor thus missing His loving gaze. 

Sit down in quiet.  Picture your Lord, Jesus, sitting under one of your trees or at your dining table with you.  Place yourself at his feet, the posture of a disciple. See his face gazing at you.  Stay with him.  Let him look at you in love and accept that you, not someone more honorable or of greater stature, is the one he wants to gaze upon.  Listen.

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