Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for July 17, 2022

Reflection for July 17, 2022

Spirit of giving

Abraham and Martha  are contrasting examples

by Sister Mary Kabat

Have you seen someone    or have you been the one who sits on a chair in the garage or on the front porch watching the people, dogs, bikes and cars go by? Now imagine that you are Abraham in the reading from the Book of Genesis 18:1-10. The day is hot, and you have no access to phones, newspapers, television, e-reader, and rarely even see a person not of your relatives or employees.  Along come three men and you are most eager for their company and for whatever bits of news they might have to share. 

Wouldn’t you too “run” to greet them, and “hasten” to ask your spouse and servant to help prepare a meal “quickly.” Abraham's eagerness to provide for his guests makes me smile. And what good news the guests share – Sarah will give birth to a son in the coming year.

Martha in the Gospel from Luke 10:38-42 is also welcoming a guest, Jesus, and probably some of the disciples, and she too is busy about the tasks of serving. She, however, doesn’t have the eagerness to provide and please like Abraham. She is so irritated that her sister Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping her that she complains to Jesus about it. Jesus has good news to share with her. “Calm down, Martha, you are so anxious and upset. Mary has chosen the better part right now. It will not be taken from her.”

Abraham was so aware of his guests. Martha was so aware of her “non-helping” sister. Their focus formed their spirit and either gave joy or irritation. We have choices at every moment, to cherish or be frustrated and cranky. Observe yourself in the week ahead. Choose the person Jesus wants you to be.

See I have God for my help. The Lord sustains my soul.
I will sacrifice to you with a willing heart and praise your name. Psalm 54:6,8


Sr. Sally Ann
07/15/2022 10:15 am

Thank you for the reflection on hospitality, Mary. I, too, see a contrast between Abraham and Martha. He had the benefit of servants he could order to prepare the meal. Martha, on the other hand, had to bear the load by herself. I can easily put myself in her shoes. I would always want my sisters to share the burdens of housework. Many are the times my mom would hear my complaining about who was doing what for the benefit of the family and, sometimes, our company as well. A woman’s work was never done, it seemed. I didn’t have the mind of Jesus when washing the feet of his disciples.

Marlene Burton
07/15/2022 11:05 am

Such a good reminder, Mary, to take one moment at a time and not let the little things stress us out. Thank you, my friend.
07/15/2022 12:32 pm

I read Sr Sally Ann’s comment and I can identify with that. I have so much more work to do and will never think like Jesus. This is sad.

07/15/2022 2:01 pm

It's kind of ironic, isn't it? That Abraham, who is definitely about 'everything hospitality' in this story, is "rewarded" with the most unexpected and almost unbelievable news that he will be a father, whereas Martha is also being about everything hospitable for the sake of a good experience for their guest, JESUS, yet she is reprimanded or 'scolded' for not just "sitting-in-the-company of JESUS," as is her sister, Mary.

"Sitting-in-the-company-of....." This is an experience I have always enjoyed with my Dad.

In the presence of my Dad, I have always felt / known a special kind of comfort, or "knowing" that I am in a very good place. My Dad was always good company, anyway; someone everybody enjoyed being with. He was genuine in all his ways, and he was a good story-teller and always enjoyed listening to others and their stories, too.

With so many shared experiences of him throughout my life, just "being-with-him" always felt right and good, holy and true.

I think this might be what JESUS was trying to get at when he spoke up to Martha, who was asking for her sister's hands-on help, instead of just "sitting there," with JESUS. He wasn't really upset with Martha, as much as he was trying to let her know that he really enjoyed "being with" people. He experienced a 'true good' in the presence of another, so much so, that he knew the "other stuff" could wait.

I have found this to be true in my prayer life, as well. Just "to be in the presence of JESUS, and to let JESUS be present to me, as I am, at that very moment, no matter how rattled, distraught, or upset," is ultimately comforting, reassuring, and healing.

Rev. William J. Jacobs, Jr.
07/16/2022 8:50 pm

From a family of ten(10), I heard these comments often. It was difficult for Mom & Dad to work us equally.

But, they were truly good times. No guns; no drugs; no pandemics; etc. We were poor and didn't know it!

God Bless you for your refection,

Fr. Bill Jacobs

P.S. Share with the good Sisters as our Special Needs Sister Mary Lou, will turn ninety (90) on August 14th...

Annabelle will be 93 on Christmas Day and I'll be 81 on November 9th - that's all that's left of the crowd...

It was a super family & truly - super times..

Sr Rose Jochmann
07/19/2022 1:24 pm

Thanks - question about being caring or frustrated! What person does Jesus want us to be!

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