Sunday, July 17, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart.” — Mencius.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

This familiar saying sums up the scriptures today. The word of God is a word not just to be spoken, but to be heard and lived.

Throughout the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), whenever God’s word was not lived, problems and disasters always followed. When people listened to God and were obedient to him, their lives were good. When they refused to listen, or got out of alignment with God in their lives, things tended to fall apart.

In the first reading today, God intends and promises to send Abraham a child in his old age. When Abraham went about it his way — fathering a child (Ishmael) with Hagar, the handmaiden of his wife, Sarah — the consequences prove disastrous for his family.

In a very short time, Sarah and Hagar were at each other’s throats, and happiness and peace deserted their household. But when Abraham followed the ways of the Lord, and acted in accord and alignment with God in his life, all things improved. Now he received a proper son born of Sarah.

Similarly, in the Christian scriptures (New Testament), Martha and Mary were showing hospitality to Jesus, as was proper. But when Jesus began to teach, Mary sat at his feet to listen, to hear, to be a disciple.

Martha continued to carry out the acts of hospitality that were proper to a Jewish home with guests. Jesus, however, spoke the same message of old to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Mary aligned herself completely with the Lord Jesus, as he began to teach and open up to her and others the mysteries of God’s love.

What could be more important than listening and being present to God in the person of Jesus?

Mary got it! Hospitality is very important, but being focused and completely present to God is even more important: “Mary has chosen the better part.”

In this modern day, with all of the noise, distractions, business, texting, cell phone availability, constant interruption and interaction, we make Martha look lazy and inactive. We are constantly on the move, at it, doing, accomplishing, occupied — constantly.

The Abraham and the Martha in each of us would be blessed to learn from the Mary in the word today. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” and “the experience of God’s abundant life is in the hearing and the living of the Word.”

We can do no better than to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email perry.leiker@gmail.com. Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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