“Discipleship: Hospitality in Reverse”, by Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM

Discipleship then is first and foremost “going to Jesus” and finding time to listen so we can do what God wills.

Hospitality is one of the remarkable traits of Filipinos. We love to prepare something special for our guests. Others would even spend beyond their means to give their best. For some it is an issue of practicality, for others it is but an expression of valuing people even if it would mean sacrifice for them. For moralists, it can be an issue of right or wrong priority. For power trippers, the act can either be of subservience or of control. An ordinaryevent is open to various interpretations and sense-making.

In the case of our Gospel this Sunday, I strongly believe that Jesus’ answer to Martha: “…you are worried and troubled about many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Lk. 10:41-42) is not a judgment on whether Martha’s action is right or wrong because God created each of us unique. What then does this encounter convey and challenge the disciples of Jesus, the man from Nazareth and Son of the compassionate God?

To connect our reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel with that of last Sunday, allow me to refresh your memory with the gospel story of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37). While the parable of the Good Samaritan answered the question – who is my neighbor, let us look at the action or movement of the characters. The priest and the Levite WENT AWAY from the victim because both needed to prepare themselves for their respective services. The Samaritan, on the other hand, CAME NEAR to the victim with compassion. The story in today’s Gospel indicates a similar movement, Mary CAME NEAR to Jesus to listen to him and Martha WENT AWAY from Jesus because she was doing other things, presumably also for Jesus, the guest. Furthermore, the intentions of “coming near” to Jesus were different for the two sisters. Mary came to Jesus to listen (Jesus is an active presence). Martha came near to air out her concerns and complaints (Jesus in passive presence).

If the Parable of the Good Samaritan answered the question that the neighbor is any person in need, in the context of our Gospel today can we raise the question of who God is in the person of Jesus? Can we dare answer that God is someone who needs our active listening and that BEING WITH HIM is far more important than the best of what we do for Him. Being with God is an experience that no other force can take away from us and which we can joyfully share with others.

Discipleship then is first and foremost “going to Jesus” and finding time to listen so we can do what God wills. Hospitality is one expression of this discipleship that values the guest rather than what the host can do for the guest.

Let us LISTEN MORE to render our BEST SERVICE!!!

as published, July 21, 2013 Parish Bulletin READ MORE articles by Fr. Reu >>>>>