Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

July 21, 2013 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service

> LK
> 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.””

> Homily:   Deacon Terry
> Ellerman

>  And Jesus
> said to Martha,

> “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.””

> We've heart this Gospel many
> times, and I think many of us, at least me, scratch our head
> and say, “There's something wrong with this
> story.   I don't understand.”

> This Gospel and the first reading is about
> hospitality.   It's about welcoming, it's about
> communicating, it's about relationshipping with each
> other.   And when we hear the Gospel we know that Jesus
> and the disciples were very good friends of Martha and
> Mary.   They were very good friends.   So when
> Mary and Martha see Jesus coming, what do they
> do?    They run to the kitchen, they clean up the
> house, and they start preparing this elaborate meal for
> him.   Then when Jesus gets to the house, Martha greets
> him and goes back into the kitchen.   Mary then greets
> Jesus and sits at his feet and listens to him. 

> Now I don't know about you, but how many of you have had
> the experience, when you have been teamed up with somebody
> to do something, and all of a sudden you are in the kitchen,
> or doing the job, and you are all by yourself.   Has
> anyone had that experience?

> Has this made your angry?   Then you can understand how
> Martha was feeling.   In fact, you could probably hear
> the pots and pans banging saying to Mary, “Come on in the
> kitchen!”   But as we know from the reading, Mary
> never gets the message.

> So Martha comes to Jesus, just as many of us has had our
> kids come to us and say, “You know, Mary is not helping me
> do the dishes, or with this chore.” What do we
> say?    We say to the other child, “Well, go
> help your sister or brother with the dishes, ” or whatever
> the job is - and that is the expectation.

> So when Martha comes to Jesus and says, “Mary isn't
> doing what she is supposed to do.”   He says,
> “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.””

> What Jesus is saying here is,
> “Martha, thank you for what you do.   It's nice
> that you are preparing this meal for me.   But the
> thing you don't know is that I am in Bethany to hear
> you, and that I am on my way to Jerusalem.   And when I
> get to Jerusalem I am going to die.   I am going to
> suffer.   I am anxious.   And I want the people I
> really love, Martha and Mary, to be here with me so I can
> share my concerns and problems.”

> Now Martha did what Martha thought she needed to do - and
> being the good host she thought she needed to provide Jesus
> with an elaborate meal.   But Mary, on the other hand,
> saw that Jesus had a different need.   And the need he
> had was someone to talk to.

> So what the story is really telling us is that we need a
> balance in our life.   We need a balance of having a
> meal, but maybe not an elaborate a meal, and also being able
> to communicate a relationship with those people who are with
> us.

> I want to give two examples.   The first one is about a
> father who had a teen-age daughter.   One of the things
> he truly loved was after supper the two of them would go for
> a walk.   He really, really liked that
> experience.   He liked having that time to communicate
> with her.   

> Well, they did this for quite a while.   Then one day
> the daughter said, “I can't walk with you
> tonight.”   OK.   The next week she said, “I
> can't walk with you Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this
> week.”   This went on for quite a few weeks.  
> The father was upset, but he bit his tongue and didn't
> say anything.   

> A couple months later it was his birthday.   At his
> birthday party his daughter came out smiling and she gives
> him this beautifully wrapped present.   He opens up the
> present and here is a hand-knitted sweater that she had made
> for him.   She purposely didn't walk with him
> because she didn't want him to know that she was taking
> that time to make something very special for him.

> That action was from her heart and she really meant
> everything good about it.   But the dad said to
> her,   “Thank you very much for the sweater.   I
> know it's from the heart. But you know, you could knit
> me a hundred sweaters and it wouldn't be as important as
> us walking together and communicating with each other.”

> That's what Jesus is telling us today.

> The second story is a personal story and it is about one of
> the traditions we have in my family. It started with my
> grandparents. Every Christmas and every Easter and
> Thanksgiving we would go over to my grandparents house, and
> they would fix this elaborate meal and we would eat, and
> then we would leave.

> As my grandparents got older, my parents followed the same
> tradition.   And as my parents got older - my sister,
> brother, and I, along with our spouses, took on the
> responsibility. So every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving,
> Mother's Day, Father's Day - we divided up and
> we'd take turns.   We did this for quite a while. 

> One day my wife asked, “Do we have to do it this way?”

> And I said, “Well, we've done it this way for a long
> time.   What do you mean?”

> She answered,   “You know, I spend how much time
> making sure that the house is spotless?   The night
> before, I cook and do all these things.   The next
> morning I bake and cook.   Everyone comes around
> eleven-thirty or twelve.   When we are done eating, all
> the women, and there should be some guys, but mainly women
> come to the kitchen and do the dishes.   And when the
> dishes are over everyone leaves.   We are missing
> something.   We don't have any time to talk and
> communicate.”

> So we changed.   The dinners still rotate between Pat,
> Mike and myself.   But now, we only prepare the
> meat.   The grandchildren and brothers and sisters
> bring a dish.   We use paper plates so there are not as
> many dishes.   And when we are finished, we have more
> time to communicate and visit.

> That's what the Gospel is about.   We've become
> so busy in our life doing this, that and the other thing, we
> fail to see the most important thing is communication. The
> most important thing is to get to know one another, to love
> each other, to share what is going on in our lives.   

> In the case of Jesus, it is for Martha and Mary to help him
> realize that everything is going to be OK.   Within our
> own families it is to know that everything is truly going to
> be OK.

> I want us all this week to examine our own lives.   How
> much quality time do we spend with our spouse?   How
> much quality time do we spend with our children, and
> grandchildren?   It seems like we live in a world today
> where we take them to swimming lessons, then we take them to
> Scouts, then we take them to a sporting event.   We
> take them here, and we take them there. But do we have table
> fellowship anymore?   Do we ever sit at the table and
> enjoy each other's company.   There is no one who
> loves to eat anymore than I do.   Eating a meal is
> good.   But table fellowship is more than eating. 
>  It is really communicating and finding out how each
> other's day has been, and what we can do to help each
> other.

> So today as we approach the altar of God to receive his real
> body and blood,

> let his body and blood give us the nourishment we need to
> look at ourselves.   

> Are we Mary?   Are we Martha?   Or do we have a
> balance of the two?   

> Would Jesus say to us, “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.””

> *****

> Terry Ellerman is a retired
> educator and serves as a deacon at Blessed Sacrament
> Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois.
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