FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: OUR CONCEPT OF CHARITY: THE DANGER OF OVER ACTISM!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 17 2022
*Gen 18 :1-10, Col 1:24 – 28, Lk 10 :38 – 42.
There are 3 important dimensions of holiness; the thought side, the word side and the action side.
(i) The Thought side; Our thoughts must be perfected by the grace of God , Eph 4: 31 – 32.
(ii) The Word side; Our speech must be influenced by the Word of God, Rom 10: 9 – 10.
(iii) The Action side; Our actions must reflect the love of God, 1 Jn 3: 16 – 18.
In today’s readings, we need to take a case study of Abraham, Mary and Martha in order to see why Jesus acclaimed Mary’s dimension of charity as the better part and review our lives accordingly in view of this new paradigm.
B. ABRAHAM’S CONCEPT OF CHARITY
(a) Gen 18 :1-10 – Abraham’s case is an example of practical love.
– The Lord appeared to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day.
– He was a man of ‘quiet time’ who combined perfectly the contemplative and active life.
– He daily looked for an opportunity to do good. When he saw strangers passing, he spoke kind words to them.
– He laid all he had before them and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree. In the final analysis, he encountered angels through his charity.
C. MARY VS MARTHA’S CONCEPT OF CHARITY
(b) Lk 10: 38 – 42 – Martha and Mary played host to Jesus at a very delicate moment of his life – When he was nearing his passion, cf Matt 12: 14 – 15.
– Mary and Martha welcomed Jesus through their hospitality; Mary through staying to converse with Jesus and Martha through her kitchen services. But Mary had a superior understanding of love and that’s why Jesus preferred her own gesture for these reasons;
(i) She understood that in religion, what God wants to give us and do for us is what matters more than what we want to do for God.
(ii) Prayer is done better by listening than by talking. Our Blessed Mother said: ‘God who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name’, Lk 1: 49.
(iii) She understood that charity moves in 3 dimensions; thought, word and action. Example, if you give somebody money only to abuse or insult her afterwards.That is no charity. When hospitality becomes an art, it loses its very soul.
– Martha was not chided because she served but because she was distracted with all the serving: ‘worrying and fretting about many things’.
*We run into trouble not by blatantly doing evil things but by doing good things in wrong proportion, at the wrong time, with the wrong motive.
– Martha did an important job but her problem was failure to understand that her sister also was doing a necessary job. She therefore had too much concentration /attention on her own job /vocation. (This could be termed arrogance).
Our modern age is so involved in over activism; People get so involved in living that they forget why they are living. (Eg. Parents could get so involved in providing for their children that they have no real time for their children). People get so involved in what they are doing that they forget why they are doing it (Eg. People want to pray but at the end forget that they are talking to God). People pursue what money can buy and forget what money cannot buy (Eg. Love and Wisdom).
Our world is getting too noisy with a lot of noisy music that unconsciously make people restive and animalistic. They struggle for food in gatherings, struggle for traffic on the roads and can no longer listen to the voice of order. They even struggle for ashes on Ash Wednesday, kissing of the Cross on Good Friday, Holy Communion and even Confession line in churches. And
worse still, they can no longer even vote/elect in conscience, the right capable people as their leaders.
Jesus’ admonition to Mary in today’s gospel is still his admonition to the present day Church;
> He is warning our bishops and priests to please calm down and spend more quiet time with him in the Blessed Sacrament so that they can give more attention to the ‘Lord of the Work’ than the ‘Work of the Lord’ and be able to discern the things (projects) that really matter and not fret about so many irelevant things.
> He is warning couples to be careful about how they get distracted with work and forget to give attention to themselves and their children.
> He is warning especially married women (with ‘Martha like tendencies’) to be careful how they get too busy with home cores or even their children and mothers (especially when they come for ‘omugo’) and end up neglecting their husbands as lord of the family.
> He is warning every Christian to be careful how we neglect the poor, the travellers, the strangers, our house girls and house boys, etc not knowing when they are sick, hungry or even tired. Let us be mindful of the fact that we can also encounter our own angels today through our sense of charity even more than through our noisy prayers and over activism. Happy Sunday dear friends!