Homily for the sixteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 10:38-42
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" As they went on their way, Jesus entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, «Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.» But the Lord answered her, «Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.» "
" As they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. "
Jesus was walking along: he heads toward Jerusalem, announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God to all. He himself does what he had told his disciples to do, and he says, with them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 10:9) Presently he enters a village, and he is going to spend some time in a house where he will enjoy himself very much: that of Martha and her sister Mary. This village is called Bethany, and is very near Jerusalem. This house is not only that of Martha and Mary, but also that of their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrected after having mourned his death (cf. Jn. 11:35).
This is a highly symbolic place, because here both the divinity and the humanity of Jesus, the Son of God become a Man, appear in all their fullness. Jesus seems to be quite unique when he resurrects Lazarus: he demonstrates the divine omnipotence which belongs to him as his own. But Jesus also seems to be just an ordinary person when he mourns the death of someone he loved so much, even though he already knew that he was going to raise him from the dead.
This house, this privileged place in the village of Bethany, is a place that fully demonstrates the two natures of Christ: the divine nature and the human nature. And this duality in the unique person of the Savior of Mankind is evident from the very moment of his entry into this house: it is in the attitude of the two sisters, Martha and Mary, that it will be made evident.
" She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, «Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.» "
Saint Paul told us: "You are the Body of Christ." (1 Cor. 12:27) This means that those who are united to Christ by faith and charity are one with him: they form the mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. This is what takes place here, when Martha and Mary welcome Jesus into their home: they become the Body of the Lord through their limitless love!
But then, since the body is multiple (cf. 1 Cor. 12:14), Martha and Mary, in a certain sense, demonstrate both aspects of the person of Christ: it is as if what is multiple - since it is double - in Christ, that is, both the divine and human natures, were found separately in each one of the two sisters, Martha and Mary.
So, the divinity of Christ appears more in Mary, who sits down at the Lord's feet in order to listen his word, the Word of God, the Son, who has the same nature as the Father. "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ ..., begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father." On the otherhand, the humanity of Christ appears more in Martha, who takes care of serving her guests and doing her housework: Martha through her activity demonstrates the mission of the Servant which Jesus would fulfill on earth for the salvation of the world. "For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk. 10:45)
" But the Lord answered her, «Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.» "
Only one thing is necessary! Of the two natures of Christ, only one is necessary for us: the divine nature! If the Son of God took flesh in the bosom of the Virgin Mary, it was to make us participate in his divine nature at the price of his redeeming sacrifice on the Cross! The humanity of Christ is transient, in the sense that it serves as a mediator between, on one hand, the divinity of the Son of God, and on the other hand all the men and women who want with all their heart to unite themselves to Christ through a sincere faith. For only one thing is necessary, and that is what Mary chose, the divinity of Christ the Redeemer!
Today therefore, let us prepare our heart to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Christ is entirely present in this sacrament: he is there in his body, his soul and his divinity. "The Mass is indeed the living representation of sacrifice of the Cross." (H.H.. John-Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Dies Domini" on the sanctification of Sunday, May 31, 1998). Let us ask the Most Holy Virgin Mary to prepare our heart to welcome Jesus in us in order to receive the fruits of his Sacrifice for the glory of God and the salvation of the world!