BMW (Being, Meeting and Welcoming) GOD
17 July 2022, 16th Sunday in the Ordinary Time
Lk 10: 38-47
Maybe, after listening to our Gospel reading, you might be asking, “Father, which one manifests true faith: is it Martha who serves or is it Mary who listens?” In the Church, we have ministries that are active and contemplative. And maybe, we might think that those who are in the active ministry are better than the contemplative. The former can do more and produce more while the latter can only do less as if those who are in the liturgical ministry are doing passive roles. But our readings do not proclaim about which one is better, which one can do more and which one can have more? They proclaim the fruits of BMW: being with God, meeting God and welcoming God.
Instead of starting with the 1st Reading, let me begin with the 2nd Reading. St Paul proclaims a beautiful vision. And this vision can be seen by men and women of faith. St Paul tells us that the mystery which is hidden to many generations is being revealed to us, the People of God. This mystery is not something that is very far but it is within us. This mystery is not something but Someone: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the hope of glory, is in us.
If we are looking for God, St Paul is telling us Christians to find God, first in our lives and in the lives of others as well. God’s nearness is not about proximity; it is intimacy. He is in us and we are in Him. Thus, being with God is the first fruit of encountering God. Maybe, many of us are struggling to find God because we do not affirm our core values of goodness, kindness, respect, understanding and patience. In Christ, we are not only capable of doing good, we are all good. Being with God affirms the best potentials that we have as humans and as Christians.
If we are rooted in our being with God, we can meet God. Meeting God points to the reality that we can have a face-to-face encounter with God through others. In the 1st Reading, Abraham, who had an intimate relationship with God, was able to sense God’s presence through the three visitors whom he and his wife Sarah served with a sumptuous meal. They did not only give their best, they were showing their best attitude to these visitors by being respectful, by their hospitality and by their service. By having a sumptuous meal, they were not only enjoying their presence, they were in communion. Where there is union, there is strength. Where there is union, there is God.
How about us? How do we treat people? Sometimes, even if they have faces, we pretend that we do not know them. We categorize them as strangers because they are not rich, not educated, they are LGBTQA+, they are addicts, etc. But even if they are struggling in many ways, if we learn how to see goodness in them, we can begin to see God in their brokenness, woundedness and nothingness. Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables encapsulates this with these words, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Apparitions are taking place, actually, if our vision called faith is heighten by love that gives hope to this broken world. There are no strangers, but there are people who cannot see eye to eye. But if love is our vision, we do not only see “us” but we meet God.
What are the fruits of being and of meeting God? The fruits are many but they are not far from us, they are within us. A welcoming heart manifests that one has faith, hope and love. In the Gospel, Martha and Mary both welcomed the Lord Jesus. Martha, with such an active personality, prepared a meal for Jesus and His disciples. She must be preparing a banquet! While Mary opted to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was not simply doing nothing. She was doing something. She was listening, trying to assimilate Jesus’ words so that she could share them to others. But between the two, Martha was distracted. Why? She was distracted because her sister Mary opted to act as being trained to become a teacher to others which, in the first-century Palestine, this domain is exclusively for males. And so, Martha was disturbed because Mary opted the “male” domain rather than joining her to do household chores. But those who live in the Lord experience newness! By telling Martha that Mary has chosen the better part, Jesus went beyond the traditional barriers where in all, Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man, are one with Him.
We cannot say that Martha is above Mary nor Mary is better than Martha. We need both Martha and Mary. We welcome the Lord by being contemplatives in action. Prayer life always leads us to good works. Others say, “I cannot pray because I have so many concerns and problems.” Well, let us make our concerns and problems as materials for prayer. For when man works, man works. But when man prays, God works. Let us not make our busyness as an excuse for not meeting God and having no time to talk with Him. If we can find time to do check our emails, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and even stay late at night watching Netflix, spend a quality time with God. For without God, our days of the week would be Moanday, Tearsday, Wasted-day, Thirst-day, Fright-day, Shattered day and Sad day. Today, we are gathered around the table of the Word and of the Eucharist. It is Christ who feeds us by His Word and by His Presence so that in being with Him, in meeting Him and in welcoming Him, we will be blessings to one another in season and in out of season. When people encounter us, they do not only see us as we are but Christ in us, the hope of glory. Amen.
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