Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The first reading and the Gospel relate stories of the ancient Middle East virtue of hospitality. To host and serve a guest in one’s home was a privilege and seen as a divine blessing. In the Gospel of Matthew, in the Parable of the Last Judgment, we remember that one of the virtuous acts of the righteous is that they welcomed Christ in the stranger who was in their midst. Abraham is quick to see God in these three mysterious strangers. So is Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus. We, too, are accustomed to treating our guests with respect. Often when we host a party, we clean the house, prepare the dinner, offer a drink and place to sit. Sometimes, however, in our day-to-day life, we can be consumed with the worries and anxieties of life and miss the other persons around us. This certainly can be the case when we are driving. Sometimes, we can be so concerned with where we are going that we cut people off, or worse, cause an accident. The remedy for anxiety and busyness is to choose the better part which is to spend time with the Lord, particularly in prayer. In prayer, the Lord gives to us – peace of mind, consolation, a focused attention to our work but not in a way that is self-absorbed. Martha missed the opportunity to spend time with the gracious Savior because she was concerned about the little details of her day. Sometimes that is the case with us. But time with the Lord is the way that God helps us organize our day that is pleasing to Him and even productive for ourselves and others. The great television evangelist of the 20th century, Bishop Fulton Sheen, used to begin his day with a holy hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This, he knew, was necessary for his daily work and health of mind, body and soul. He even said that when he was really busy, he needed two holy hours. There may be some days when we cannot pray like we should, but these should be few. In fact, if we give ourselves in prayer, the Lord will give himself to us and strengthen us throughout our day.
Have a blessed week!