All posts by Peggy Epley

Gospel Meditation

July 21, 2019
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Active and contemplative. At work and at rest. These are dynamics we all face in our lives, and if we’re honest, we might not always balance perfectly! In this Sunday’s Gospel, our daily tensions play out in two sisters. Mary “sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.” Martha, on the other hand, is “burdened with much serving.” This, as it turns out, is not necessarily “the better part.” 

All of us reading this have some sort of labor we engage in. We have different trades or careers. We have responsibilities as family members, some of which may take up most of our time. In the time of Scripture, showing hospitality to guests was one of the most important values in society. Our work is important. Jesus himself spent decades as a carpenter. So what’s the problem with Martha? Martha is burdened, anxious, and worried. Not only that, but she resents her sister’s choice. “Tell her to help me,” she demands of Jesus. 

How easy it is to get very busy doing good things. We need to provide for our families and plan for retirement. We need to make sure children are clothed, fed, and educated. Our committees, ministries, and sports schedules need to stay on track. However, without a balance of work with rest, without contemplation in the midst of our action, we will miss the point. While many parts are required for our life in the world to function, the better part is our relationship with God. This week, make time in your busy schedule to sit at Jesus’ feet. Maybe this is 20 minutes with Scripture, participating in a daily Mass, or a quiet walk alone in the park. Receive what Christ wants to speak to you.

Liturgical Publications

MEDITACION DEL EVANGELIO

21 de Julio de 2019
16º domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

La hospitalidad de la que tanto se habla en estos tiempos en la Iglesia de los Estados Unidos se manifiesta en la Liturgia de hoy. Decimos que las comunidades deben de trabajar en una hospitalidad radical para que los miembros de la comunidad se sientan bienvenidos y atraídos a las asambleas dominicales. Podemos reflexionar en dos caras de la hospitalidad: La primera de vista a Dios y la segunda de los que nos rodean y visitan. La hospitalidad debe ser parte esencial de cada cristiano, algo así como un estilo de vida cotidiano. En la Primera Lectura, Abraham se muestra hospitalario y atiende a sus tres visitantes con rapidez y alegría. No escatima en esfuerzo y trabajo. Es como una urgencia para quedar bien ante los visitantes. ¿Somos así de hospitalarios con los que nos visitan?

En el Evangelio donde Jesús visita a Martha y María, la hospitalidad parece dividida en dos partes. Una que atiende y se pierde en mil cosas por quedar bien ante el Señor Jesús al grado de reclamar por ayuda. “Señor, ¿no te importa que mi hermana me haya dejado sola para atender?”. (Lucas 10:40). Y la otra que se sienta para escuchar y saborear la amistad y la intimidad del Señor. ¿Qué te parece? ¿A cuál de estas dos perteneces tú? Tradicionalmente se a interpretado que ambas son buenas, pero necesitan balance. Marta que se afana en la actividad y María en contemplar. La enseñanza de Jesús, sencillamente, es que lo primero es Escuchar la Palabra. Por eso Jesús dice: “María ha elegido la mejor parte, que no le será quitada”. (Lucas 10:42). ¿Cómo es mi encuentro con Cristo Jesús mi amigo?

Liturgical Publications

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

We all have a tremendous amount of responsibility. Every day presents more challenges and lists of things we need to accomplish. Life, however, is more than just to do lists. Life is more about who we are and how present we are to what is happening around us. Our relationship with God is the same. It is not just about doing the right things or showing up in the right places, even though these are certainly important. What is more important is the quality of our presence in God’s presence. How attentive are we to His revelations of presence to us? If life’s demands, however noble they be, overly consume us, we will miss being surprised by God’s presence: in creation, in sacrament, in our brothers and sisters, and in ourselves. Listen carefully to Martha and Mary’s story today.

Liturgical Publications


VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA

Todos tenemos una cantidad tremenda de responsabilidad. Cada día presenta más desafíos y listas de cosas que necesitamos lograr. La vida, sin embargo, es algo más que “listas de tareas pendientes”. La vida tiene más que ver con “quiénes somos” y cuán presentes estamos ante lo que está sucediendo a nuestro alrededor. Nuestra relación con Dios es igual. No se trata solo de hacer las cosas correctas o de aparecer en los lugares correctos, aunque estas son ciertamente importantes. Lo que es más importante es la calidad de nuestra presencia en la presencia de Dios. ¿Cuán atentos estamos a sus revelaciones de su presencia para nosotros? Si las exigencias de la vida, por muy nobles que sean, nos consumen demasiado, perderemos la oportunidad de ser sorprendidos por la presencia de Dios: en la creación, en el sacramento, en nuestros hermanos y hermanas y en nosotros mismos. Escucha atentamente la historia de Martha y María hoy.

Liturgical Publications

Everyday Stewardship

As I get older, what really matters to me changes. I remember being in high school and having to wear certain brands and to look a certain way. Now, many days I simply wear what is clean! I used to collect certain things that I no longer seem to care about much now. I wanted certain things for my children, and now I am happy if they are happy, regardless of what happens. I have changed political stances a few times. I even follow different sports teams today than I did when I was younger. Time, circumstance, wisdom, and even disillusionment all play a part in my ever-changing attitude toward what really matters in life.

All has changed except my faith. My faith is the one constant in my life. It is the most precious of all the gifts God has given to me. Life hasn’t been a constant high, and there have been several low valleys along the way. It has been my faith that has seen me through all times, good and bad. If anything has changed, it is that Jesus matters more today than he did yesterday. 

What really matters to you? What’s the main thing in your life? I have witnessed once-strong disciples place politics, wealth, career, and family ahead of Jesus over time. All those things are enticing, but they are things that change. Even your family grows and changes as the years go by, as does your relationship with them. The one thing that does not change is God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It can bring great peace to your life when what matters to you is the one thing that remains constant. The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. That main thing is Jesus.

– Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

LA CORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA

A medida que envejezco, lo que realmente me importa cambia. Recuerdo estar en la preparatoria y tener que usar ciertas marcas y mirarme de cierta manera. ¡Ahora, muchos días simplemente me pongo lo que está limpio! Solía ??coleccionar ciertas cosas que ya no parecen preocuparme mucho ahora. Quería ciertas cosas para mis hijos, y ahora estoy feliz si ellos son felices, sin importar lo que pase. He cambiado las posturas políticas un par de veces. Incluso sigo a diferentes equipos deportivos hoy que cuando era más joven. El tiempo, las circunstancias, la sabiduría e incluso la desilusión juegan un papel en mi actitud siempre cambiante hacia lo que realmente importa en la vida.

Todo ha cambiado excepto mi fe. Mi fe es la única constante en mi vida. Es lo mas preciado de todos los regalos que Dios me ha dado. La vida no ha sido una constante alta, y ha habido varios valles bajos en el camino. Ha sido mi fe la que me ha visto a través de todos los tiempos, buenos y malos. Si algo ha cambiado, es que Jesús me importa más hoy que ayer.

¿Qué es lo que realmente importa para ti? ¿Qué es lo principal en tu vida? He visto a discípulos que una vez fueron fuertes colocar a la política, la riqueza, la carrera y la familia por delante de Jesús con el tiempo. Todas esas cosas son atractivas, pero son cosas que cambian. Incluso tu familia crece y cambia a medida que pasan los años, al igual que tu relación con ellos. Lo único que no cambia es Dios. Dios es el mismo ayer, hoy y siempre. Puede traer una gran paz a tu vida cuando lo que te importa es lo único que permanece constante. Lo primero es, mantener lo principal en primer lugar. Esa cosa principal es Jesús.

-Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

A HOSPITALITY OF PRESENCE

For Sunday, July 21st, 2019 
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Hospitality of Presence

Genesis 18:1-10a
Colossians 1:24-28
Luke 10:38-42

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t give your care, but give your heart as well.” Living the Gospel is not simply about providing a service to people in need but about a quality of being. Hospitality is not just about opening our doors but opening our very souls.

All too often we fall into the trap of thinking that our mission as Christians is convincing people that they need to adopt our agenda. We welcome them to a point but then when they do not completely fit with the specs of our program, the wall goes up. Rather, the mission of the Gospel, which is a mission of hospitality, is about welcoming others where they are and with their particular needs and desires; it is more about listening than it is about doing.

The Gospel this weekend portrays Martha and Mary, the doer and the listener. Practical sense tells us that both are necessary. Yet, we struggle with both in our lives. We can identify with Mary but we are really more attracted to Martha. Martha’s the objective one, her script is specified. She can make the grocery list, plan the day, mix the ingredients, set the table, and do all of the stuff that is required of a perfect hospitable host. Mary is the subjective one whose script is not specified. She is the one who is comfortable with spontaneity. She brings a quality of presence to a situation rather than making sure that the china is free of cracks. Having not really encountered Jesus before, she needs to be ready to think on her feet, set her agenda aside, and desire a relationship. Mary is the one who takes the art of hospitality to the Gospel level by truly welcoming and not only serving.

The first reading from Genesis underscores this same theme. Abraham’s hospitality to three strangers demonstrates the need to open oneself to the stranger, to hear what he or she has to say. The better part of hospitality is being attentive to the guest, to what he has to say, what he has to offer, and what he truly needs. This is the core of biblical righteousness and justice.

When a person is open to another and is disposed to authentic listening, he or she can begin to understand what our psalmist exhorts: “One who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” Jesus went into people’s homes, sat down, and listened. He didn’t go in with an agenda, insist that they comply with a particular set of teachings in order to enter the kingdom of God, or chide them for living a life unworthy of God’s calling. Jesus just sat there. By a quality of presence, miracles happened … lives changed.

There is something very attractive about rules, rituals, and proper prayers. In the journey of coming to know and develop a relationship with God, they are necessary and serve a vital purpose. Martha serves a vital purpose. Beyond task orientation, however, lies the depth of contemplation. This happens at that point in our relationship with God when we begin to move beyond that which is required and tangible and learn how to see, hear, listen, and connect differently. Contemplation happens when we begin to change and our souls are engaged in dialogue with all of creation and all of God’s children.

Richard Rohr, OFM, tells us that “contemplative prayer is the change that changes everything. It’s not telling you what to see, but teaching you how to see … The gift of contemplation will be experienced as freedom, abundance, love, spaciousness, and grace. This entire experience of gratuity makes you fall in love with God.” This is what happened with Mary, she fell in love with Jesus!

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta fell in love with Jesus and was then able to fall in love with all of those individuals who needed her care. The relationship she had with Jesus changed her inwardly and made her a temple of hospitality in a most authentic way. She was able to place herself at the feet of the people she served and truly minister to their needs and desires. And we can do the same if we risk allowing the Spirit to move us out of our comfort zones to a different, less predictable place.

As we learn how to listen and begin allowing God to change how we see and understand, it may seem at first that we are wasting time. Over time, however, our relationships will change dramatically, and we will realize that we, too, have chosen the better part.

Rev. Mark Suslenko