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Sunday:       16 th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Date:         July 17, 2016.
Year:         C
The readings: [Gen. 18:1-10a; Col. 1:24-8; Lk. 10:38-42]
The message:  There is need of only one thing.
Prepared by:  Catholic Doors Ministry
Total words:  1458

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** The readings follow the sermon.

"There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." [Lk. 10:42] Intentionally or unintentionally, Mary chose the better part, to listen to the Word of the Lord that enriches the soul.

"There is need of only one thing." [Lk. 10:42] reminds me of six questions that must be answered when praying. These are:

1. Will this answered prayer glorify God if obtained?

2. Will this answered prayer lead to my sanctification?

3. Will others be hurt by this answered prayer?

4. Will I be mastered by this answered prayer? Will the answered prayer master the soul such as when winning a million dollar and becoming under the control of money?

5. Do I really need this answered prayer?

6. Can I do without this answered prayer?

Now, let us review these questions and see how they apply to Mary's situation.

1. Was Mary glorifying God by listening to what Jesus had to say? Does God command us in the Sacred Scriptures to listen to Jesus? Yes He does. During the Transfiguration, when Jesus was on the high mountain with Peter, James and John, [Mt. 17:1] "suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" [Mt. 17:5] According to the teachings of St. Paul, it is by hearing the Word of God that we obtain our faith. "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ." [Rom. 10:17]

2. Was Mary being sanctified by listening to the Word of Jesus? When Jesus prayed to the Heavenly Father for His Disciples, He said, "Sanctify them in the truth; your Word is truth." [Jn. 17:17] By hearing the Word of God, we are sanctified in the truth.

3. Were others hurt by the actions of Mary? Was Martha hurt? It sure appears as if Martha was hurt because she was left to do all the work by herself. But, according to the Words of Jesus, Martha was being distracted by many things. The work that Martha was doing was not necessary. Martha created her own work. It was not demanded of her. She could have sat alongside Mary in order to be enriched by the spiritual foods that Jesus was feeding to Mary. But no, Martha chose to be a people pleaser. She was probably running right and left to prepare worldly food for Jesus as the Guest in the house. But Jesus was telling Martha that the Heavenly food is greater than the worldly food.

4. Was the soul of Mary being mastered by the Word of Jesus that she heard? Like all of us, Mary had a free will to accept or to reject the Word of Jesus. God does not control anyone! Mary chose to hear the Word of God, the Word that became flesh and lived among the people, who's glory they have seen, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. [Jn. 1:14]

5. Did Mary really need to listen to the Word of Jesus? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people." [Jn. 1:1-4] Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. [Jn. 14:6] Without Him, there is no salvation. "For there is One God; there is also One Mediator between God and humankind, who gave Himself a ransom for all..." [1 Tim. 2:5-6]

6. Could Mary have done without listening to the Word of Jesus? Yes, she could have done so. The fact that she did not is proof that she had a free will to listen or not to listen to Jesus. Had Mary chosen not to listen to the Word of Jesus, she would have deprived herself of Divine knowledge and understanding that would have lacked in her sanctification.

What is our conclusion? As Jesus said, "Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." [Lk. 10:42] What she chose was spiritually beneficial to her now and forever.

In our daily Christian behaviour, can we apply these six questions in order to determine if our words and actions are God pleasing or self-pleasing? Let us review two examples.

In the first situation, a Christian decides not to do his Sunday obligation of going to Mass so he can sleep in.

1. Does this glorify God? No! When one distances himself from God, he cuts off his personal relationship with God. He cuts off the source of grace, love and mercy.

2. Does sleeping in lead towards sanctification? No! There is no spiritual gain in sleeping.

3. Will others be hurt by this behaviour? Yes! The Body of Christ suffers when it lacks the active participation of all of its members.

4. Can the Christian be mastered by this behaviour? Yes! The sin of laziness does not occur overnight. It is a gradual process. One starts by neglecting his Sunday obligation once, then twice, then three times... and before you know it, he no longer goes to Church.

5. Does a Christian really need to go to Church on Sunday? Yes, he needs it! By going to Church on Sunday, he participate in the Holy Mass and receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life. He worships in fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ. Where two or three are united in prayers, Christ is present. He is of one mind with the other members of the Parish who are present. By going to Church on Sunday, he is open to an abundance of graces from the Lord God.

6. Can a Christian do without going to Church on Sunday? No, because without active perseverance in the Church, his spiritual life will dry out. Without the life of Christ in him, he will lose his salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

In the second situation, a Christian decides to visit on Sunday afternoon a Parish member who is hospitalized.

1. Does this glorify God? Yes! It is a response to Jesus' command to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

2. Does this action lead to the sanctification of the Christian? Yes it does. This is seen through the Christian's sacrifice of his free time. It is seen through the co-sharing of the sick person's suffering. It is seen through the love of the Christian who is a light in the world.

3. Will others be hurt by this good deed of the Christian? Certainly not. In fact, others may learn from it so they too may grow in the love of Jesus and shine as a light in the world.

4. Will the Christian be mastered by this good works? No! Having a free will, he can refuse to do future visits at the hospital. But, being dead to sin and a slave to Christ through who he was saved, the Christian will be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to perform good works as a manifestation of God's grace that is at work in him.

5. Does the Christian really need to visit a sick person in the hospital? Yes, if he maintains that he is a Christian, bearing the name of Christ, he is obligated through his faith to manifest the work of God through his thoughts, his words and his actions. If he is void of spiritual fruits, he is a dead Christian.

6. Can he do without visiting a sick person in the hospital? Yes, he can! But his spiritual growth will suffer and possibly come to an end because of his resistance to the sanctifying grace of the Heavenly Father through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Consequently, he will suffer spiritual death and eternal damnation.

In view of our better understanding of "There is need of only one thing," and "Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her," [Lk. 10:42] let us fix our eyes on the Word of God so we too may be spiritually enriched. May this week be rich in blessings to all of us as we strive towards the need of only one thing, hearing the Word of God so we may productively live our faith in Christ. May the grace of God be with all of you this week.

The readings...
[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]
First Reading...

"The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.

He said, 'My Lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on - since you have come to your servant.' So they said, 'Do as you have said.'

And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, 'Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.' Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them: and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to Abraham, 'Where is your wife Sarah?' And he said, 'There in the tent.'

Then one said, 'I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.'" [Gen. 18:1-10a]

Second Reading...

"Brothers and sisters, I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.

I became its servant according to God's commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is Christ whom we proclaim, warning every person and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present every person mature in Christ." [Col. 1:24-8]

Gospel Reading...

"Now as Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying.

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.'

But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.' " [Lk. 10:38-42]

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