Hostile or Hospitable 

10.9.18 Tues. wk. 27 – O. T.  (II)

Galatians 1: 13 – 24

Luke 10:  10: 38 – 42

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  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.”       The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily:  Fr. Mike Murphy                            Hostile or Hospitable

Being Christian is not about the adherence to a set of rules.  It is confronting the mystery of Christ in the world.  “Faith” is not Christianity, the religion.  Faith is the result of a personal encounter with Christ; even in the poor, the migrant and those we are uncomfortable to be around.  St. Paul reminds us in His Letter to the Colossians, that the mystery of Christ is revealed in his holy ones (Col.1:26). His holy ones are all around us, not simply remembered in our liturgies.

We live in a world that is increasingly hostile.  This hostility is not only in Washington politics but also in our neighborhoods.  The culture is full of defensive and angry people who are protective of their agenda.  If you disagree, they attack you and they push you away.  As Christians, we are to be different; we are to be counter-cultural.  We are obliged to offer others hospitality, where strangers can cast off “strangeness”; where we recognize we are all fellow pilgrims on road to heaven. Part of the Christian call is to convert “hostis” to “hospes”.  These are two Latin words.  “Hostis” means stranger or enemy.  We get the world “hostile”, “hostility” from it.  “Hospes” means a guest or a friend.  It is the root of the word “hospitality”.

Too often we are like Martha in Gospel.  She welcomed †Jesus into her home and then left Him in another room.  She was busy preparing a meal for Him which was a virtuous thing to do, but Martha was not attentive to †Jesus.  Preparing the meal was her agenda and not that of †Jesus.  †Jesus was on way to Jerusalem.  He had things to say to her and her sister, Mary.  †Jesus wanted her to calmly listen to His words and not be fussing and rushing around.  Martha’s agenda separated her from †Jesus.  With †Jesus off over there, away from her, she was anxious, upset, and angry.  Martha was “hostile” toward Mary.  She didn’t know her guest or His needs, which, at the moment, was to speak to her and her sister.  As a result Mary experienced classic spiritual desolation as described by St. Paul In Galatians, chapter 5: “Jealousy, outbursts of anger, dissentions…” (vs.20-21).  Martha was not listening to the Holy Spirit which is manifested in desolation.

We are often excessively anxious and angry.  We invite †Jesus into our life then push Him aside as we go about doing our will.  It is such a waste to do this.  †Jesus has so much to give and share with us and we simply ignore Him.

How do we encounter †Jesus?  How do we show Him hospitality?  We listen to His Word in prayer and worship as we are doing this morning in this mass.  We sit in His presence as Mary did; by engaging in personal prayer and community prayer.  Mary was at peace in His presence.  Her attitude is seen as a classic description of spiritual consolation as described by St Paul: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, generosity…” (Gal.5:22).  Mary had embraced the Holy Spirit.  Love, kindness and hospitality are to witness sensitivity to the needs of others.  The spiritual life consists in: virtue above sacrifice (Is. 1: 11-16), obedience rather than sacrifice (Jer.7) and reconciling with others before bringing our gift to the altar (Mt.5:23).

To be in God’s presence, is to think the truth in the heart, speak the truth and act out of the truth.  It is to welcome others as God welcomes you; as God welcomes saints and sinners alike.  Recall these words from the Letter to the Hebrews:

“Do not neglect hospitality, for through it, some have unknowingly entertained angels” (Heb.13:2)