Today’s bible lessons speak about hospitality, its profits and rewards.
Abraham entertains three strangers and ends up with a blessing that his wife Sarah and he could not have imagined and it was so real that they could not believe it for a while. Abraham’s expression of welcome and all that he did, his postures and gestures may be a bit strange for the Western culture. They are just normal for the east even to this day, of course with minor variations, additions and adaptations from other cultures.
Abraham’s sitting at the door of his tent was not for cooling alone; it was a posture of meditation, prayer and communion with God and nature as well as with others. It was also an observation post.
In the gospel we find Mary sitting at the foot of Jesus, a posture many hermits, monks and believers, both Christian and non-Christian especially the seekers of eastern spirituality, still adopt to enter into communion with Jesus/God.
Martha’s posture was one of challenging, complaining and also involving a bit of jealousy towards her sister.
God/Jesus is OK with all these elements of the postures. Martha definitely has her rewards for preparing a dinner for Jesus. He appreciated and even desired for it often, and so he was a frequent visitor of this Bethany home. However, being so fussy, Martha did not have the delight of a tranquility, which alone could have enabled her to enjoy the beauty of the Word of God, which/who was in her home in person and in action. Jesus and his Church need people like Martha and Mary. If both of them were to sit at the foot, Jesus would have been starving on many occasions.
Jesus enjoyed the meal cooked by Martha, and Mary’s listening was a delight for him. Listening to the word and being transformed into a new creature are the purpose of gospel proclamations. Abraham, Martha and Mary all were in the hospitality business with God/Jesus.
God is looking for it towards humans and humans look for it to God. Both parties look for it because both benefit. Just like we need God in our life, God needs us in his life because we both are in love, in the same family. In order to love we need a beloved. We are the beloved of God and we love God. In this love relationship there is no measuring; no one gets more and no one gets less; it is fullness of happiness and bliss. Growth and transformation into this bliss is what St. Paul speaks today as
‘presenting every person mature in Christ, after a process of proclaiming,warning, and teaching in all wisdom’.