Day 8 — Saint Martha, patroness of Christian hospitality, invites us to open the doors of our hearts to a life of warm and gracious hospitality, especially in times that can be too self-centered, exaggerating the need for privacy.
“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.” (Lk 10:38-39).
The passage from Luke is the optional Gospel for today’s feast of Saint Martha; it is fitting for the petition for today. The Scriptures do not say if Jesus knew Martha and Mary yet, but it was clear that He was not only welcomed by a woman, but sat at table in the home of the two sisters. Something radical is going on: in this instance openness to Jesus requires letting go of social norms. In fact, openness to Jesus will require letting go of something. In return, Jesus gives Himself, life-giving water through His words. There is a communion established when we listen to Jesus. There is a continuous giving and receiving through our listening and hearing. Martha welcomed and provided the food to eat. Jesus spoke. Mary listened.
This form of gracious hospitality was not foreign to Blessed Solanus. As the Porter of the Capuchin Monastery, he welcomed, fed, and listened to all who knocked on the door. He saw Jesus in everyone and treated them as Martha and Mary treated Jesus in the Gospel. There are two stories that illustrate his hospitality charism, as well as his extraordinary faith. One day during the Great Depression the soup kitchen had run out of bread. Fr. Solanus was greeting the 200 souls still in line. He prayed an Our Father, and soon a baker’s truck pulled up to deliver bread and all were fed. In another story, Fr. Solanus was suffering from a cold, yet he continued his ministry of listening and counseling. Fr. Solanus said (and I paraphrase), “Jesus stopped to comfort the weeping women while carrying His cross; this is the least I can do.”
Indeed, today it is difficult for us to practice this kind of radical hospitality. Let us pray today for the grace to see Jesus in everyone we meet, to listen to His (their) stories, and to give them what they need.
O God, I adore You. I give myself to You.
May I be the person You want me to be,
and may Your will be done in my life today.
I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.
If it is Your will, bless us with the Canonization of
Father Solanus so that others may imitate
and carry on his love for all the poor and suffering of our world.
As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,
I ask You, according to Your will,
to hear my prayer for…(your intention)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Blessed be God in all His designs.”
Just for fun, listen to the Queen of Soul tell the story of Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus!