HOMILY FOR THE 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
HOMILY THEME: CHOOSING THE BETTER PART
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
My dearest brothers and sisters, we are privileged to be here on this day of the Lord. We have gathered as disciples at the feet of the master to listen and meditate like Mary on the life-giving/saving words Christ.
The readings of today, speak to us about hospitality but more importantly on choosing the better part- the part that brings us closer to God in every circumstance of life.
Today we shall reflect on choosing the better part. Jesus replied to Martha “…There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part…” Let us begin by asking ourselves have I chosen the better part in my relationship with God and others?. Now let’s look at the first reading.
~In the first reading from the book of Genesis, Abraham’s spontaneous generosity and hospitality to the strangers tells us what it means to choose a better part in our relationship with God, which is evident in the way we treat others. Abraham might have been moved with pity seeing these strangers under the hot sunny day and decides to offer them some hospitality. Without any formal request, Abraham chose to do what he considered best for them. His hospitality and generosity were touching. This is what it means to choose a better part and in so doing he never knew he served the messengers of God. This episode provides the background for the New Testament command, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).
When it comes to choices we make in life, we often choose what benefits us more, rather than what will benefit others. Abraham made the choice to be hospitable. He chose the better part by being kind and generous to these three strangers. The consequence of his generosity was an assurance of a son. He was rewarded for being kind. let’s not forget that we draw closer to God by offering hospitality to others in whatever situation we can offer it. There are many homeless roaming our streets today yet there are thousands of adverts of apartments, condos, studios and rooms for rent. The fact remains that many have traded off hospitality for money but let the example of Abraham and Sarah motivate us to offer without charges whatever is at our disposal that will benefit others even if it is just a cup of water. Always chose the better part.
~The theme of hospitality continues in today’s gospel with Christ’s visit to the house of Martha and Mary. This gospel pericope presents two godly women who happen to represent two forms of Christian spirituality: The Asceticism of Martha and the Contemplative life of Mary. Martha’s generous service is not minimized by Jesus but her worries show that her service needs to be grounded in Mary’s kind of love for him. Together, the sisters embody the truth that generosity and love of God are intertwined realities. Martha performs the kind of generosity Jesus commends in Luke 14:12-14, for he is someone who cannot pay her back in kind. By sitting at Jesus’ feet, Mary shows that all our service ought to be grounded in a lively personal relationship with him. Following Christ means becoming like Martha and Mary. Be generous and love God. These are mutually reinforcing, as is the two sisters’ relationship with each other.
~Mary’s choice to be at the feet of the Master to listen to the eternal words of life is the better choice because man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The words of Christ satisfies more than earthly bread. Today, many of us Christians are becoming more distracted by too many things thereby paying little or no attention to what matters most- our spiritual lives. Without closeness with God, we can hardly face the challenges of life with faith and courage. We must maintain a healthy balance between our work and our prayer life.
~We are called to make the right choices. Any choice that does not bring us closer to God but takes us farther away from Him is a risk to our spiritual life – it is not a choice of the better part. When we choose the better part, that is the part that draws us closer to God, we become fulfilled in whatever we do. Examine which part you have chosen today in your relationship with God and man.
~Paul chose to be a proud minister of the gospel to spread the word of God to the Gentiles. Because he chose the better part, Paul rejoices in his sufferings for the sake of Christ. When we chose the better part, even our sufferings become our source of joy.
May God draw us closer to Him in every circumstance of life. May we be generous and hospitable to others, choosing the better part in every circumstance – the part that pleases God, brings us closer to Him and can never be taken away from us.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.