16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
July 17, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace,

that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading Gn 18:1-10a 

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
"Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way."
The men replied, "Very well, do as you have said."

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
"Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls."
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, "Where is your wife Sarah?"
He replied, "There in the tent."
One of them said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 


R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

One who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.

Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.

Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things shall never be disturbed.

Second Reading Col 1:24-28 

Brothers and sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Alleluia Cf. Lk 8:15


Gospel Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,
"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."

Catena Nova

“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.” Our Lord’s words teach us that though we labour  among the many distractions of this world, we should have but one goal.  For we are but travelers on a journey without as yet a fixed abode; we are on our way, not yet in our native land;  we are in a state of longing, not yet of enjoyment. But let us continue on our way and continue without sloth or respite, so that we may ultimately arrive at our destination. (St Augustine of Hippo)

Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in one house on equal terms. Martha and Mary are sisters. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

Do not be disconsolate when obedience leads you to be concerned with external, worldly matters; understand that, if your task is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans, helping you in all things spiritual and temporal. (St. Teresa of Avila)

Surely, no-one, who is candid, can doubt, that, were Mary now living, did she choose on principle that state of life in which Christ found her, were she content to remain at Jesus’ feet hearing His word and disengaged from this troublesome world, she would be blamed and pitied.  Careless men would gaze strangely and wise men compassionately, on such an one, as wasting her life and choosing a melancholy, cheerless portion.   Long ago was this the case.   Even in holy Martha, zealous as she was and true-hearted, even in her instance, we are reminded of the impatience and disdain with which those who are far different from her, the children of this world, regard such as dedicate themselves to God.   Long ago, even in her, we seem to witness, as in type, the rash, unchristian way in which this age disparages devotional services. (St. John Henry Newman)

One’s first duty is adoration, and one’s second duty is awe and only one’s third duty is service. And that for those three things and nothing else, addressed to God and no one else, you and I and all other countless human creatures evolved upon the surface of this planet were created. We observe then that two of the three things for which our souls were made are matters of attitude, of relation: adoration and awe. Unless these two are right, the last of the triad, service, won’t be right. Unless the whole of your...life is a movement of praise and adoration, unless it is instinct with awe, the work which the life produces won’t be much good. (Evelyn Underhill)

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times. (Thomas Merton)

If we hadn't got Christ's own words for it, it would seem raving lunacy to believe that if I offer a bed and food and hospitality to some man or woman or child, I am replaying the part of Lazarus or Martha or Mary, and that my guest is Christ. There is nothing to show it, perhaps. There are no halos already glowing round their heads--at least none that human eyes can see. ... It would be foolish to pretend that it is always easy to remember this. If everyone were holy and handsome, with “alter Christus" shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. It is a good thing to ask honestly what you would do, or have done, when a beggar asked at your house for food. Would you--or did you--give it on an old cracked plate, thinking that was good enough? Do you think that Martha and Mary thought that the old and chipped dish was good enough for their guest? (Dorothy Day)

Reflection Questions

In what ways might you “fill up” what remains to the afflictions of Christ?

How are you “anxious about many things?”

How do you choose “the better part?”


Choices, Choices

     Someone once asked me, “What do you do for fun?”  To which I answered, rather peremptorily, “I don’t do fun.”  (That’s not entirely true though a lot of what I consider “fun” might be considered drudgery to any number of other people.)  At any rate, summertime offers a chance to reflect on the meaning of Christian leisure.  And the gospel of Martha and Mary provides the perfect backdrop for this reflection.  There was a time, not long ago, when people were saying the future would be full of leisure.  The four-day work week, new technologies, economic prosperity, would all free us for a life of leisure.  We would have too much time on our hands, they predicted, and we’d have to learn what to do with it all.

     Yet, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that New Yorkers, as one example, worked an average of 39.8 hours per week -- up slightly from the year before, despite the pandemic.  Nevertheless, the pandemic triggered what has been called the Great Resignation where people in great numbers simply quit their jobs altogether, or refused to go back to the office after working remotely from home,  or simply went looking for something else at a higher wage given the corresponding labor shortage.  Some economists have called it a general strike.  

     Then there’s something called Quiet Quitting where people are no longer willing to work beyond the hours for which they are actually paid and do the minimum required by their contract.  Millennials and GenZ are especially reluctant to blur work and leisure, preferring “working to live” rather than “living to work.”   So it appears Mary is suddenly on the rise in our culture after a long time when Martha held sway, when how “busy” you were was a sure sign of how important and successful you were likely to be — how much you could “get done” — all the while complaining frazzled and fatigued you were!

     Now by and large, I welcome this apparent change in priorities.  I remember when I was newly-ordained, if I sat down for five minutes, I felt guilty.  I had to be doing something all the time.  And living with a workaholic didn’t help matters.  Thank God, there came a point when I realized how crazy that was, and I tackled my priorities.  I stopped feeling compelled to put in a 60-hour week, or guilty about taking a walk, going out to dinner, or having friends I spend time with.  (“Yes, fun”).   I fell into the trap of thinking my “work was my prayer.”  That time set aside for prayer was time stolen from the ministry. It’s what spiritual writers used to call “the heresy of works.”  The thought that what we do is more important that who we are. That God “needs” us more than we need God.

     I also remember a friend of mine known for her many forms of service and hospitality as a wife, mother, grandmother and sister, always attending to those in her family whom she loved so much, and who loved her in return.  But when planning her funeral homily, once she made the decision to cease treatment for the cancer that would take her life, she told me the thing she always wanted to be, but which always eluded her, was to be a Mary, -- a  “wannabe Mary,” as she put it.   She told me how, in her final days, she wanted to retreat to her beautiful home she loved so much, hoping it would be a refuge where Martha could evolve into Mary.

     Rochesterians are likely to know a product called “Monk’s Bread.”  It’s baked at the Abbey of the Genesee where Cistercian monks live a balanced round of work and prayer, following St. Benedict’s motto: Ora et labora [“Pray and work”].  We celebrated his feast day this past week.  Collen Carroll Campbell once wrote in America magazine how Benedict “learned from experience that pushing yourself and others too hard can be a road to spiritual ruin. There is a fine line between work that glorifies God and work that merely glorifies yourself. Benedict saw our willingness to set aside our work when work time is over or a more pressing need arises as a good indicator of whether or not we have crossed that line.” 

     The liturgy reminds us of the same thing each Sunday as we sit at the Master’s feet in this Eucharist, imbibing wisdom from the One who offers us the better part which will never be taken from us.  When we pause to celebrate, in song, ritual and silence the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past, [b]ut now . . . manifested to [God’s] holy ones. . . . [That is, Christ] whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ (II).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (cf. Joe Milner; The Sunday Website) 

For the Church: that our deeds of hospitality and service may reveal for us a glimpse of the face of God.

For all who are busy about work and progress: that God will free us from overworking, help us find the life-giving balance, and recognize the relationships which bring us life.

For all who live a life of service, particularly those who care for the sick, assist travelers, or serve in public safety: that they may offer their service joyfully and be renewed by God’s love.

For immigrants and refugees: that God will protect them from harm, guide them through the bureaucratic procedures and lead them to a new home where they can share their talents.

For a greater spirit of stewardship: that the Spirit will guide us in sharing our time, talents, and resources in support of the church and the forgotten of our society.

For all who are traveling during these summer weeks: that God will protect them, renew, and restore them through this time away and strengthen their bonds with their loved ones.

For all who are ill: that God’s healing spirit will bring them through their illness and restore them to wholeness.

For peace: that God will turn hearts from violence in our cities and families, open new opportunities for dialogue, and protect innocent people from attacks and errant gunfire.


Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest.

Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice

and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)


Offertory Hymn


In midst of burning desert heat

Three strangers came along the way

Where Abraham and Sarah stayed;

He saw them, and begged them to stay

In hospitality he sought

To care for each and ev’ry need;

In answer came the promise sweet,

“Your wife will bear a son indeed.”

In much the same way, Jesus came

To Martha and Mary’s place;

While Mary sat and heard the Lord,

All awed by such amazing grace,

Her sister called, rebuking her,

And scolded Christ for lack of care.

But Jesus said, “What Mary chose

Alone is needful and most fair.”

In giving hospitality,

We serve our God in neighbor’s guise;

The trouble others seem to be

Will oft be Christ, to our surprise;

And yet, the one thing needful is

The mystery of Christ in all,

Our hope of glory.  Here we sit

And hear our Master’s loving call.


Communion Antiphon 


Optimam partem elegit sibi, Maria, quae non aufretur ab ea in aeternum. (Mary has chosen the better part and it will never be taken from her).

Closing Hymn (Elizabeth Payson Prentiss)


More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
now thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise;
this be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
this still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!