Homily for Monday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: Prayer and Work
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Monday July 29 2019
(Lk. 10:38-42) Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Martha.
In today’s Gospel Jesus visited Mary and Martha, sisters of His good friend Lazarus. As soon as they heard of Jesus’ visit, they prepared themselves. When Jesus arrived, Mary welcomed Jesus by sitting beside Him to listen to what He was to say. On the other hand, Martha was busy preparing something for the Lord and doing some other chores. Theologians and spiritual at times “criticizes” Martha and her kind for having chosen the lesser act compared to Mary.
In fairness, Jesus praised Mary for preferring to listen but it was not to demean what Martha did. Prayer, listening to God, is foundational. But works and actions are testimonies and expressions of our prayers. Actions are the best fruits of prayer. Thus, Martha and Mary represent a complete spiritual life. Jesus reminds us never forget to listen first before we act. Listening without action accomplishes a minimum. Action without prayer maybe misdirected and can lead to spiritual exhaustion.
The late Fr. Thomas Green, S.J., calls it CONTEMPLATIVE IN ACTION. Prayer is never without the commitment to action. Martha reminds us of that responsibility to act, to put into fruition what we heard and were commanded to do in communication with God. Acting on God’s command is fulfillment of His will. For Jesus, it’s being less than prayer is not about quantity or quality. It is about hierarchy or priority. Prayer is basic in relation to works. Works should be in connection and dependent on the fruit of a good prayer.
As shown in our picture today, she represents housewives, cooks, dieticians, and servers. We recognize the simple works they do. They may not be in the limelight, looked up in society, and paid well compared to others, but they are great before God if they work knowing they are participating in God’s work of creation.