Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Only One Thing Is Necessary

July 22, 2007 Year C

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time/8th Sunday After Pentecost

Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins

Genesis 18:1-10a; Psalm 15:2-5

Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42

Theme:  Only One Thing Is Necessary

Be still and know that I am God.

Other things may be important, if not down right urgent.  But, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus sat at the feet of all mercy and holy mystery.  She desired what is most necessary if we are to be mature in Christ.

In Genesis 17, Abraham has learned from God that Sarah his wife will bear him a son in her old age.  This is why Abraham in today's lesson is sitting contemplative in the door of his tent.  It was appropriate that Abraham reflect on God's word to him.  After all, neither he nor Sarah are spring chickens.  In one fell stroke of divine visitation, Abram's and Sarai's names are changed to Abraham and Sarah.  God has said that he and Sarah will be a father and mother of nations and kings of people.  One can only imagine the deepness of humility that is at work in Abraham's heart as he sat musing on the ways of the Lord in the heat of the day in the door of his tent.

But for such communion with the Lord are we all called to embrace.  It is no small thing to contemplate the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of Glory.  St. Paul's understanding of 'the mystery' was a result of the sufferings of Christ's afflictions at work in his flesh.  Only a complete consecration of his entire being would be sufficient to fulfill his divine office.  Paul's divine office and calling was to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.  

Often it is pain or tragedy or misfortune or an ordeal, which precedes a greater fellowship in the most Holy Trinity.  It is after either reckless or selfish living when often it is discovered, 'I must decrease and He must increase.' It is after betrayal that Joseph's words echo true for us, "As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good."  

As stated earlier, if we are to be mature in Christ a true hunger and thirst for righteousness must be exercised.  Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and St. Paul is bringing the Colossians to the foot of him who is before all things, and in whom all things hold together.  Mary's posture before our Lord is indicative of the humility and docility we are called to.  There is nothing wrong with Martha's desire to meet the needs of Jesus and the other guests in her home.  However, it is Mary who has found that place near Christ that shall not be denied her.  It is here she attentively listens to his teaching.  Man cannot live by bread alone.  We need divinizing more than we need dinnertime. In John 6 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."    

Let us enter into that divine quietness where the life-altering teaching of Jesus can flood our hearts to overflowing.  It has been in such times of stillness I have found divine help and strength.  Like Mary, we can sit at the feet of Jesus during times of praying the Rosary, or being engulfed in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist at Mass or having a grace filled few minutes or hour in the adoration Chapel.  The interiorizing of the mystery is what empowered the early Church's proclamation that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  We can only give what we truly possess.  

Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, in you we live and move and have our very existence. Too often I seek life outside of you.  Help me to always know that you are my life, my hope, and my eternal joy.  Like Mary, help me to learn of you in quietness, blessed quietness.  And then shall I find rest for my soul. Amen

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