The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost:
Proper 11 / Lectionary 16
Hospitality: the gracious welcoming of the stranger. Abraham prepares a feast for the three men who visit his dwelling. Martha, also, is preparing a banquet for Jesus and his followers. Abraham hurries to get the fatted calf and Sarah quickly makes bread to set their best before these guests. Martha, too, is hurrying to set before Jesus and his disciples a proper banquet. The welcome and care of strangers is the highest moral value of the time, but Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. It is troubling to Martha but not to Jesus. She occupies the place of a disciple, a student. She has chosen “the good portion.” She has chosen the true banquet.
The Prayer for July 21, 2013
with courage and boldness
Mary dared to sit at your feet as a disciple
and you defended her choice.
Give us hearts that yearn to sit at your feet
and, amid all the distractions of life,
help us dwell in your word
and follow in your paths
The Texts for July 21, 2013
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-15
“I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” – At the Oaks of Mamre, Abraham and Sarah host three visitors, and God announces that the time for the fulfillment of the promise of a son is at hand.
Psalmody: Psalm 15
“O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?” – The poet speaks of the qualities required of those who enter the sacred precincts to offer their sacrifices.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-28
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” – The opening section of the letter continues, acclaiming Christ as the source and goal of all things
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?” – Invited to dine at the home of Martha, Jesus defends her sister Mary’s decision to sit at his feet as a disciple.
PS The appointed reading in the Revised Common Lectionary for the first lesson is Genesis 18:1-10a which cuts the narrative in the middle in order to fit with the Gospel. This misuses the Genesis text where the promise is met with laughter (because the years for having children are long past) and the penetrating question is asked “Is anything to hard for the LORD?”