Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Gn 18:1-10a
Col 1:24-28
Lk 10:38-42


While Martha works diligently to prepare her home for Jesus and his friends, her sister Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, hanging on to his every word.  Exhausted and bothered, Martha approaches Jesus about Mary. Jesus tells Martha that, although both of their actions are good, Mary has chosen the better one. This seems a little strange at first: as Christians, we are called to serve others; Is this Gospel negating that?  Instead of interpreting this as de-emphasizing service, this Gospel should be read as a highlight of the importance of faith and relationship with Jesus as exemplified by Mary. God’s love, or grace, is freely given and, by faith, we accept that love and form a relationship with God.  Mary recognized this, and gave all of her attention and presence to Jesus and what he was teaching.

Instead of being like Martha, I was challenged to assume a more Mary-like disposition on the University Ministry El Salvador Immersion this January. This program is rooted in four pillars of spirituality, simplicity, social justice, and solidarity; it seems that service is the only “S” word that is not one of the pillars.  In El Salvador, there were no service projects: I didn’t distribute food or build anything.  Instead, I was present to the Salvadorans, listening to them, hearing their stories just like Mary listened to Jesus.  Through this, I saw Jesus in the people of El Salvador; in their sadness, their joy, and the way they proudly approach the mundane events of everyday life.  Through these real relationships, I learned more about the world, myself, and my faith than any service trip could have taught me.  For this I am extremely grateful.

Service is a modern-day buzzword that is thrown around frequently, particularly in the context of résumé building. But I encourage a closer look at presence, at solidarity, at faith that moves one to action; a chance to be like Mary: to whole-heartedly and faithfully embrace God’s love and wisdom.

-Eric Knapke '17