Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 17, 2022
We might call today “Hospitality Sunday.” Our Gospel story is the familiar account of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. Martha sounds a lot like my Italian grandmother.
I remember how as a child growing up in the house where my grandmother lived, I would watch her prepare for Sunday company. Guests who came to our house would be the center of attention. My grandmother would work feverishly before the guests arrived to prepare the meal. During the meal she would fuss at them, to make sure they had enough to eat—of every dish on the table. Woe to you if you failed to sample everything my grandmother had prepared! She imitated Martha’s busy concern for guests, making sure they had all they needed.
But there’s another side of hospitality besides fussing over the food or accommodations for a guest. It’s taking the time to listen, to give the other our full attention. Last Sunday the story of the Good Samaritan urged us to take a risk to become involved with others as a true neighbor. Today we have the “how-to” of Christian neighborliness. In our parishes, neighborhoods, and city, we need both dimensions of Christian hospitality: actively serving while we seek to truly listen and understand.