Homily For 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Paying Attention To Christ Our Guest

Readings: (1st: Gen 18, 1-10; Ps: 14, 2-5; 2nd: Col 1, 24-28; Gos: Lk 10, 38-42)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this sixteenth Sunday of ordinary time we welcome Christ our friend and guest. Today, the church reminds of the importance of hospitality. It is a Christian virtue and our duty towards others. She also, reminds us of the need to pay attention to Christ our Guest. Most importantly, we are advised not to pay more attention to material things than we do to spiritual things.

In the first reading, Abraham displayed his hospitality by receiving and welcoming strangers in his house. Fortunately for him, the strangers were messengers from God. Not only did he welcome them under his roof, he took care of their material needs and equally paid attention to their message and instruction. Hence, his hospitality he expressed his spirituality. Through this he won their friendship and attracted blessings upon his household.

Paul succinctly tells us that: “The Mystery that God revealed to the world is Christ himself among us.” Of course, this Mystery is our guest, and also our hope of glory. In order words, He comes to us as one friend visits the other. Welcoming this Mystery as our guest is a pre-requisite for establishing a long standing relationship with God.

The gospel presents us with a little challenge today. This is because, there is a tendency to think that Christ was against caring for the material needs of our guests. Jesus responded to Martha: “You worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed.” This is simply to remind us not to place attention on material needs, more than on spiritual needs.

Hence, today’s gospel is a call to each and every one of us to set our priorities right. Perhaps, Jesus felt that it was not enough for Martha to have welcomed him to her house. She should have also payed attention to what he had to say. A very important part of hospitality is paying attention to people. At times, what people need for from us are not material things, but our attention.

Today, it is obvious that most Christians have misplaced their priorities in life. This is in spite of the fact that we labor much in the house of God. Hence the saying that: “One has time for the work of God, but no time for God the owner of the work.” Many of are so distracted today with too many social and material activities both in the church and in our families.  that we hardly have time for our spiritual life.  

In some of our families we pay attention to every other thing, but little or no attention to the spiritual growth of the members of our families. We have time for social activities, but little or no time for praying together or studying the word of God together.

We need to cement our relationship with Christ, by seating close to him as a family, by paying attention to what he has to say to us. Christ needs our attention, because he has something new to teach us every day. He wants to spend some quality time with us each day in our family. So we must not allow anything to prevent us from welcoming him, or to take away our attention from his presence. He wants us to live in his presence all the time. Hence, the psalmist reminds us today that: “The just will live in the presence of the Lord!”

Peace be with you all!          

Maranatha!!

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