Homily July 17th 2022, sixteenth Sunday in ordinary times

Genesis 18, 1-10
Psalm 15
Colossians 1, 24-288
Luke 10, 38-42

Welcome to all of you,
In this summer period, people try to liberate themselves form the everyday routine. Holiday does not automatically mean that we have to travel and take planes or cars to move around the globe. Although, I suppose many of you ae longing to travel because you want to go back to you families. Maybe by Covid this was not possible for a long period. But we also have alternatives to spend a holiday period, if traveling is not possible. Holiday also means a form of retreat, to choose another perspective of your life, to decide to follow another rhythm en pace in your activities.

In the encounter of the biblical stories of today there is deeper mystery that is revealed to Abraham and Sarah and to Martha and Mary. It is the encounter that reveals the presence of the Divine. This presence we also celebrate today in this eucharist. So this eucharist is not separated from our daily lives, but it wants to open us to understand and experience the presence of the Divine in our own lives. Let us listen to the biblical stories and understand them as a message to ourselves today.

Brothers and sisters, friends of the Lord,
The events in our society are passing by in a turbulent pace. We have seen the world changing because of the war in Eastern Europe. We understand how the United States January last year were on the brink of a coup d’état. Some political leaders in East and West have thrown off their masks and showed their real faces. They are led by their desire for power and domination of others. Populist leadership can be tempting for so many people, that it frightens me.

We understand that our level of consumption and our capitalist economic system is demolishing our ecological system. It is not capable of creating a balance of justice for all people in our society. In spite of all efforts, the gap between the rich and the poor in our societies is growing, on a national level and on a global scale. There is much panicking in our society. Groups are opposed to one another. This creates aggression and fear. People are desperate to be heard and to be understood. The movements that have changed our society, like Black Lives Matter and MeToo, the demonstrations by farmers, reveal the uncertainty that reigns in our society and in our hearts.

These turbulent times demand action, a new political strategy, reforms in our institutions, political, economic. And also our church needs reforms in order to reach out and get the message of the gospel to the people who are longing for this message of fraternity, solidarity, justice, mercy. The reform initiatives of pope Francis are finally achieving some results: fundamental changes in the Roman curia occur.

Before we come to action, we need a moment of reflection, a moment of contemplation. That is what the scriptures are telling us today. Both Abraham and Mary need a moment of silent contemplation to understand who is present in their tent and house so in their lives. In our eagerness to come to action, like Martha, we tend to overlook an essential aspect of it all. That is the heart of the matter: the source out if which we take our inspiration, the energy for life itself. We can be so busy making strategies, projects and plans that we forget the sources that nourish us in our mind and soul. We must realize we are not our own source. We are built up by the creative presence of God. We have not made ourselves, we are created by the source of eternal love, by God Himself. We receive our identity from this source. By the encounter with the creative Spirit of the Lord, our lives can have a decisive renewal. The only way to overcome the crisis in our society and the crises in our lives, is to carry in ourselves the presence of Gods Holy Spirit, especially in periods of uncertainty and suffering.

St Paul today shows us that he is not afraid of suffering. This is not a popular message. It is not something that we can simply say to other people: “You must persevere in your suffering, one day life will be better.” This is not the message of Paul. His message is that Christ lives in us. What does this mean? The crucial aspect of Christ is the resurrection. The resurrection is the evidence that the presence of God’s love is stronger than death and hatred. The perfection that the disciples of Christ must try to achieve, is not a moral perfection, but a life full of the Spirit of God, full of this desire for fraternity, solidarity, justice and mercy. If this source is flowing in our hearts and minds and souls, if we can use the proper evangelical words Christ has given to us, we can be a stronger Martha. We will avoid losing ourselves in practical solutions for everything, but first of all we will have our own harts converted, so that the hearts of others are converted as well. A new society cannot flourish, if hearts are closed in themselves, if we demand that others give the solutions to our problems. We have to build an new society as children of God our Father and Creator, so as brothers and sisters. We are in this together, we have to share this one world. So we have to share also this source of the presence of love in our lives. So let us combine Mary and Martha, and find a balance between contemplation and action. In this way we can be a source of inspiration for others, also in our turbulent society of today. Amen.