Please press here to listen to the homily or download
Tuesday – Twenty-seventh week – OT1
Readings: Jon 3:1-10; Lk 10:38-42.
1/ First Reading: RSV Jonah 3:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 10:38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
I. THEME: Know how to use God’s given opportunity to do His will.
People have a tendency to only do what they think and like while God wants people to do His will so that everyone might inherit His salvation. What should people do? In order to know what is the wise way, people need to foresee the result. Most of people’s wills are based on their selfishness, jealousy or hatred, so the results shall be separation, war and death. God’s will is based on love, forgiveness and common good, so the results shall be peace, happiness and life.
Today readings concentrate on knowing and using God’s given opportunities to bring His salvation for us and all people. In the first reading, the prophet Jonah must forfeit his selfish will to go to Nineveh, a city of his enemy, to preach about the repentance. The result was so effective that all people, from the king to people, repented from their sins; and God didn’t punish their sins anymore. In the Gospel, Mary knew how to take advantage of Jesus’ visitation to learn many good and necessary things from him; while Martha, her sister, was so busy with preparing a meal for him. When Martha complained with Jesus about Mary that she should help her, Jesus let Martha know what is the best choice, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
1/ Reading I: “Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands.”
1.1/ Jonah obeyed God and went to preach for the Ninevites: The author reported, “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,”Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.”
In the first time, Jonah didn’t obey God’s command. He bought a ticket and fled to another city to avoid God because he didn’t want to preach repentance for his most hated enemy, the Ninevites. The result was that he was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a big fish. But he was lucky because of God’s love for him; the fish came to the shore and vomited him out. When God commanded him the second time, he knew that he couldn’t flee from God; so he went to Nineveh as God commanded him. Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, about three days’ journey.Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. He cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!””
1.2/ The people of Nineveh believed in God through Jonah’s preaching: Different with Jonah’s first hardness of heart, when the Ninevites heard Jonah’s preaching the first time, they sincerely repent and changed their life. The author reported the following results:
(1) From the old to the young: “The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.”
(2) From the king to the people: When “tidings reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”
(3) From people to their cattle: The king made the proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water,but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands.Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?”
When Jonah and the Ninevites gave up their wills to do God’s will, God didn’t punish them with the punishments He intended for them. In opposition, if Jonah and the Ninevites didn’t obey God, they shall certainly be perished.
2/ Gospel: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”
Bethany is the village of the three brother and sisters: Lazarus, Mary and Martha. This village is close to Mt. Olive and the Temple Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples frequently visits them when he traveled to Jerusalem. This visit might be the last one before his Passion.
2.1/ The subjective view of Martha: To welcome Jesus to their house was an honor for them. This is why Martha eagerly prepared food for Jesus. There were many things to do and Mary supposed to help her and she did not help. She kept sitting at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. Martha felt uneasy with her sister, so she came and said to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”
A special guest comes to visit is not only to eat; but also an opportunity to talk with members of a family. If the head of a family considers the receiving of a guest is important, she can prepare food in advance, so that she will have time to talk when her guest comes. Martha probably thought that preparing food for Jesus was the most important thing to do; therefore she forgot about her talking with Jesus. Moreover, she could secretly give a signal to Mary in order to ask her for help; but she did not do as such and also blame on her guest, Jesus, because he did not recognize Mary’s duty to help her.
2.2/ God wants people to choose the best and long lasting value.
(1) Mary’s wisdom: She recognized the importance of talking to Jesus of which her sister did not recognize. Moreover, Mary has certainly heard Jesus’ teachings and she knew how important they were. Therefore, instead of being busy like her sister, she chose to welcome Jesus and to listen to his words. We can see how proper it is if Martha did not voice her complaint, she worried about preparing food while Mary about receiving Jesus.
(2) Jesus’ advice: To respond to Martha’s complaint, Jesus said to her: “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.” Jesus did not say preparing of food is not important, but he considered it not as important as listening to God’s words. If other things prevent one to listen or to learn God’s word, one must have courage to discard them to choose listening to God’s word as Mary had chosen. To Jesus, if he had to fast or to have a simple meal in order for Martha to have an occasion to listening to God’s word, he will be happy to do so.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Since God loves and wishes all the best for people, He shall give us many opportunities to recognize and to do His will. We should be humbly listen and obey His will to bring profits for us and others.
– When we aim at the results, we shouldn’t aim at temporal, easy and quick results; but at lasting results though they require more time, sacrifice and effort. Choosing to listen to God’s word is always the wise choosing because when we understand it, nobody can take it away from us.