In the Gospel this Sunday (Lk 10:38-42) St. Luke records that Jesus visited the two sisters, Mary and Martha. The visitation of Jesus to Mary and Martha was indeed the visitation of God himself. Jesus is the human face of God who walked into the house of Mary and Martha to receive their hospitality. Externally, Jesus looked like any other man of his time, but in the reality of faith, he is God who mingled himself among his children of the earth. Thus, through the visitation of Jesus to Mary and Martha , God tells us that he is delighted to be received by our humanity. God too loves our hospitality, and he wants to relax with us and among us as intimate as a friend among friends, and as parents among their children. In the person of Jesus, God is pleased to be seated with us side by side.
In addition, the observable hospitality of Mary and Martha in welcoming Jesus into their roof tells us that they genuinely had a love for Jesus in their hearts. It was their interior love and respect for Jesus that mobilized their hands and feet to serve Jesus. Martha served Jesus with whatever she had in the house, and Mary served Jesus by listening to him, adoring his face, and gazing upon his presence. Both manners of service were good, and yet Jesus said that Mary chose the better part.
The better part that Mary chose teaches us that ‘contemplation of the face of Jesus, died and risen, restores our humanity, even when it has been broken by the troubles of this life or marred by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ. So let me ask you: Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze? Do you let his fire inflame your heart? Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire. How will you then be able to set the hearts of others on fire by your words and witness? If, gazing on the face of Christ, you feel unable to let yourself be healed and transformed, then enter into the Lord’s heart, into his wounds, for that is the abode of divine mercy (‘On the Call of Holiness’ – Gaudete Et Exsultate No. 151).
Fr. Tien Cao