An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016
When we realize we are going to have company, my family and I swing into motion with a frenzy. No dust shall be present for our guests. The bathrooms will be spotless and toilets worthy of the name “throne.” We must run to the store so that an endless supply of refreshments and snacks greet our distinguished guests. We never want to be seen as bad hosts and, of course the real reason for all the commotion, we never want to be seen in our natural habitat of messy rooms and barren kitchens.
But what is real hospitality, a necessity for encouraging good stewardship and developing a sense of belonging? In the Gospel of Luke, Mary knew. Martha was so busy preparing and serving, while Mary simply sat with Jesus and listened to him. This is not to say that she did not prepare for her Guest by making a proper place for gathering. But when a guest is already received, true hospitality begins with being present to them and engaging them. Part of the message in this story is that we all need to pause and listen to the Good News that Jesus preaches, but also we can learn a lesson about good hospitality from it as well.
How many times have we been more concerned with appearances and outward things than what we have inside each of us to share? Christian hospitality calls for the Jesus in me to meet with the Jesus in you. We are called to be fully present to one another, with no distractions of technology or the world standing in our way. This is choosing “the better part.” For what does it profit a man if he has all the beer and wine in the world, and a spotless home with the greatest of technology, and loses his attention in the conversation with his brother or sister to the game on television? (Or something like that!)