07.17.2022 Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Henryk Siemiradzki


Henryk Siemiradzki was born into a noble family that had resided in Lithuania since the end of the XVII Century. The artist’s father was an officer in the Russian army, who ended his career in 1871 in a general’s rank.

An atmosphere of Polish patriotism existed within the family.

Siemiradzki considered himself a Pole throughout his entire life.

Siemiradzki’s work represents the cosmopolitan trend of XIX Century Academic Art, which became enriched with the achievements of plein-air painting and with a realistic strictness of observation.

He also made use of Biblical motifs – within this sphere of activity he painted mostly narrative scenes from the life of Christ such as Christ with Martha and Mary, in 1886.



Lectio Luke 10:38-42 38“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ 41 ‘Martha, Martha’, the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’”. Meditatio

Context On the way to Jerusalem, we have already seen Jesus sending out the Seventy-Two Missionary Disciples[1]. Last Sunday we read the moving Parable of the Good Samaritan[2] inviting us to ‘Go and do likewise’. Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms what love is all about. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus, still on his way to Jerusalem, enters the house of Martha and Mary. Jesus loved to visit the home of Martha and Mary and enjoyed their gracious hospitality. In this brief encounter we see two very different characters: Martha and Mary. Martha loved to serve, but in her anxious manner of waiting on Jesus, she caused unrest. Mary, on the other hand, in her simple and trusting manner, waited on Jesus by sitting attentively at his feet. She instinctively knew that the Lord and Teacher wanted most her attentive presence and love[3]. Jesus enters the house of Martha and Mary[4]. It is already symptomatic that this scene is introduced when the Lord entered the house of Martha and Mary. This would not be commonly found in the Jewish Society of the time. However, Luke in his Gospel shows the relevance of women and highlights their contribution within the Christian Community. Without the cooperation of women, the spreading of the Gospel would have been done only for men. In the mind of Luke and his First Christian Community shows clearly how Jesus underscores the importance of women as disciples and missionaries, as they supported Jesus in his ministry as well[5]. Active life and contemplative life[6] . Jesus intended to help his Disciples, men and women, to understand how necessary service (diakonía) is: – ministerial activity is as important as prayer. Actually, the meaning of this passage has given much to talk about. Different interpretations can be given to the text depending on the translation adopted from the original Greek: it can be translated as “only one thing is necessary” in contrast with "few things are necessary", depending on the manuscripts. The first opinion seems more coherent. Give your concerns and preoccupations to the Lord[7]. Anxiety and preoccupations keep us from listening and from giving the Lord our undivided attention. The Lord bids us give him our concerns and anxieties because He is trustworthy and able to meet our needs. His grace frees us from needless concerns and preoccupations. Do I seek the Lord attentively? Does the Lord find a welcomed and honoured place in my life and home? Always welcome the Lord into your home and heart[8]. The Lord Jesus desires that we make a place for him, not only in our hearts, but in our homes and in all circumstances of life. We honour the Lord when we offer to him everything we have and everything we do. Zacchaeus was touched by the invitation of Jesus to his own house. He became a new person when Jesus arrived at his home and repented in front of all those present there. Jesus can indeed transform our lives as we welcome him. Conclusion In our own experience we have come to realize how real friends had helped us out in difficult situations, and how true it is that ‘to find a friend is to find a treasure[9]. Jesus is the ‘treasure’ for us believers. Nonetheless He wants us to be aware that we too can make a difference in people’s lives by the way we welcome and love them. Jesus liked to visit the house of Martha and Mary because of the love He experienced in entering their house.


Oratio


Lord Jesus, to be in your presence is life and joy for me. Free me from needless concerns and preoccupations that I may give you my undivided love and attention. Psalm 15:1-5 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honours those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.



Contemplatio

The Bible Passage of Martha and Mary has been a point of confusion for Christians for Centuries: We know that someone has to do the work of daily life; however, the main lesson of the narrative places emphasis on making Jesus and his Word our first priority, finding ways to give attention to Jesus over our own busyness.


* We all have aspects of Mary and Martha within us. Which one am I?


* Like Martha, do I allow myself to become distracted by the demands of the day

or, like Mary, is my primary focus on listening to Jesus and spending time in his

presence?


* Do I put devotion to Christ and his Word first, or do I place doing good deeds

before that?


* Learn about Jesus, so that I can become like Him. It is a love and devotion to Him

that makes everything else of secondary importance. It is to seek the riches of

wisdom and understanding that are in him. If I do not do this, how can I follow him?

How can I be his disciple?


* Do I find myself in danger of falling into the same trap that Martha did?


* Can I be so troubled by what I perceive as negative behaviour in others and

become so self-righteous in my good works that I start to judge others for not

doing as I do?

 

[1] Luke 10: 1: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go”. [2] Luke 10: 25-37 [3] Luke 10: 40: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! [4] Luke 10: 38-39: “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said”. [5]Luke 8: 1-3: “After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means”. [6]Luke 10:42: “But few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”. [7]Luke 12:25-26,29-32 25: “‘And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?’ ‘And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you’. ‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom’”. [8] Luke 19:5-6: “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly”. [9] Sirach 6:14: “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure”.

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