From the pastor’s desk
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time– Year C– “ Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).”
Our contemporary society is so complex. As a result of that, many abuses and evils set in. Some of the
people we originally trusted, have in the final analysis, turned against those who offered them hospitality, resulting to, much lack of trust. Many now have become indifferent to strangers. Many fear to welcome strangers because they do not want to be taken advantage of by unknown people. Humanly speaking, the peoples’ fears are genuine. But it takes faith and courage to take such risks. In our first reading, we see how God came down to become a guest of humans. Abraham was sitting, cooling himself under the oak of Mamre in the heat of the day. He went out to meet the three men, inviting and offering them hospitality.
Abraham’s goodness and hospitality made the guests to promise him the coming of a baby boy at the same time the following year, which would be the birth of Isaac.
Analyzing this visit, we can see that it was intended to demonstrate how the covenant is a sign of God’s love for and confidence in humans. It is the prefiguration of the mystery of the incarnation in which God became man in Jesus Christ. The great hospitality of Abraham is sure sign that humanity would one day, welcome God and his messengers even without knowing it. Jesus would enjoin the corporal works of mercy: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a
stranger and you invited me in… (Matthew 25:35).” God does not reach us in the vacuum, he uses human
instrumentality to come to us. That is why he sent us his son in the flesh through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is only through faith that we can see beyond the physical and experience the spiritual. It is only through
faith that we can experience the divine in every situation or circumstance. The visit of Jesus to Mary and
Martha was like the visit of God to Abraham in the Old Testament. There was nothing at that time to prove
to the two sisters that Jesus was God. But each of them showed great hospitality to Jesus. Martha’s faith led her to be busy with activities, doing the house-hold chores, cooking, preparing things for Jesus, while Mary’s faith led her to sit at the feet of Jesus listening to him. Martha came to complain to Jesus to ask him to tell Mary to come and help in the work she was doing in the house because she had left her alone in the working
of hospitality. Jesus 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 away from her
(Luke 10:41-42).” In the case of Abraham, he sat with his guests who happened to be divine, while Sarah
was inside preparing the food. Jesus did not rebuke Martha for her work, but for her worries and engaging
in work before hearing the Word. Jesus praises Mary, not because she was idle and without participating in
the cooking chores; but because she has chosen the most important thing which is listening to the Word
which comes through him.
It is by listening to Jesus the only true teacher that we can come to the knowledge of God’s Word in its
fullness which is the mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones.
This mystery is the glory beyond price.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD