When a homilist urges us toward the extraordinary in terms of attitude and behaviour, we tend to question his familiarity with what we sagely call the real world. This of course raises the time worn question of the relevance of religious categories to every day life.
Today’s readings demonstrate how Sacred Scripture deals far more with the ordinary than with the extraordinary and that it is intended to influence and to color the most commonplace in our lives.
When I receive a guest into my home for an hour or for a week, I rarely, if ever pause to think of it as a religious act…but it should be clearly recognizable as such.
Abraham and Sarah received a visit from three men at a most inappropriate time. It was during the hottest part of the day and he was probably dozing in the shade of his tent, but Abraham being so in tune with omnipresence of God and the consequent fusion of religion and life, recognized the Divine in the three men. Three persons who are alternately referred to as "he" and "they". Perhaps a veiled pre-figuration of the Blessed Trinity.
The Gospel speaks to us of God, in the person of Jesus, making another visit to another home.
Martha was a little self-righteous and Mary would certainly have irritated most of us but between them they welcomed their visitor as best they could and were attentive to both his words and his comforts.
So today’s readings reflect the theme of hospitality but they also reflect the related theme of visitation. Visiting is another experience common to daily life that has a very real religious connotation. What could be more Christ-like than visiting the sick and the lonely? Or, simply with family and friends?
Today a visitor and tomorrow visited by someone. Be aware that God seeks to have his presence felt in and through you when you stand in the doorway to visit or to be visited.