Today's Scripture Readings for Mass are, I think, interestingly put together. The first, from the Book of Genesis, speaks of the visitation of three 'men' to Abraham. We know that these men were Angels sent by God because the ancient writers told us that the Lord appeared to Abraham. What the ancients do not tell us is whether or not Abraham knew they were angels. He did all that his culture required of him to do by feeding them and giving them a place to rest. The reading ends with one of the Angels telling Abraham that Sarah was going to have a son.
Now that must have been puzzler, don't you think? I mean, come on she was what - 75? 80? Sure, God had told Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky but Sarah had decided to fix that by having her husband impregnate a servant girl because after all, once again, the creature knew more than the Creator. And, once again, the man of the family had not said, "Look, you may not believe God but I do and I am not going to take matters into my own hands. Instead I am going to trust Him.". Instead, he said, "Oky Doky".
Now, here comes the messengers of God and one of them tells Abraham that God is faithful even if he is not...what a shocker that must have been and I wonder if Sarah thought they were crazy?
The Psalm we sing is Psalm 15..He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Sarah, we know, did not do the Lord justice...she didn't trust...she did not want to take a chance that relying totally upon Him might not turn out the way she wanted it.
Do I trust Him enough? Not always. Most of the time I am thinking about what I can do to make things work the way I think would be for the best and most of the time I am then reminding myself that my ideas are not always the best. I have gotten better at not taking the action but I haven't quite mastered the thinking part yet.
We then get to hear from the letter St Paul wrote to the Colossians. He was already under house arrest in Rome when he wrote the letter and it does seem a little strange, doesn't it? I mean, what could possibly be lacking in the afflictions of Christ? Wasn't the sacrifice on the cross enough?
Sure it was - but St Paul was talking about why he was rejoicing in his sufferings. He was reminding us that suffering has a purpose in today's world and that what he was going through was not just something awful that should be endured. There is REDEMPTION in suffering - we can offer our suffering for the good of others. Those souls still being purified in the fire before entering into heaven. The ones here on earth still suffering the effects of sin being let into the world - sickness, poverty, death itself. Our pains, our aches are not for nothing...we can proclaim Christ through them and help others make it to heaven.
Finally, I look at today's Gospel and my heart goes out to Martha. I think, in a way, Martha must be Italian. She reminds me of the Italian Mom or Grandma who spends all of the holiday in the kitchen while the rest of the family visits in front the TV watching the game or outside smoking cigars. They are sharing and talking and having a great time and she is making sure the ravioli is ready the same time as the weird green bean casserole brought by the grandson's girlfriend so both can go on the table and be warm.
Mary, on the other hand, is just hanging on every word the Lord is saying and Martha finally just has enough. Martha wants everything to be perfect for God - after all, God is in her house and is going to be having dinner with her - and there is that goofy sister of hers (the one that wants to study and learn as much as the boys) not helping her at all.
Kind of like the girl who watches football with the guys and has to be ordered into the kitchen to help put the dinner on the table.
I think what Jesus tells Martha is meant to calm her down. He knows she wants the dinner to be perfect and He knows she is doing it because she loves Him. I think what He is telling her is that what she does is fine, because it is does out of love, but to not let the details get in the way. Put on a good dinner, but do it for the right reason and look at what is really important. He is in her house! He is teaching Truth! Don't let the need to get everything right obscure what is happening right in front of our eyes.
I love today's readings...what do you think they meant?