Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.


Sunday 21st July 2019
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Genesis 18: 1-10     Colossians 1: 24-28     Luke 10: 38-42

Thinking About Doing It.

Our society judges people by their work. On meeting somebody, one of our first questions is “What do you do?” We are easily taken in by a person’s job, thinking it says a lot about them. So we are much more likely to be impressed by the brain surgeon than by the meter reader. And if a person says they are unemployed, then we have to find some other way of categorizing them. It’s a pity that we don’t look behind jobs and titles to see what the person is really like. It seems obvious to say, but it’s not what a person does so much as what a person is which makes the difference.

When Jesus visited Martha and Mary he tried to get this lesson across. Martha was busy in the kitchen; Mary just sat and listened to Jesus, talking and entertaining him. Of course, it’s obvious that if both sisters had done that then there would have been nothing to eat for dinner! It was only when Martha complained about her sister that Jesus pointed out Mary’s skills as a hostess. The skill, without doubt, is to arrange the timing so you can entertain while the food is cooking.

This balance is sometimes missing in the Church. There are those whose idea of religion centres only around prayer groups, worship, meditation etc. and who rarely get involved in parish enterprises or charitable events. Others seem to spend all their time fund-raising or organizing social events but show no signs of that reflection and recollection that Jesus says should be at the root of all our action. What Jesus says to Martha and Mary is that if you take time to know yourself and to know God, then your actions will be profitable. But if you simply throw yourself into frantic activity without any real basis of prayer and reflection, then your work will have limited success.

Our life of prayer and worship is the source and summit of our Christian activity. You can’t have one without the other. It’s worth asking yourself what sort of parishioner you are. Which of the two groups do you fall into? But more importantly, what do you have to do in order for all your efforts to become more effective for Christ? Do you need to become more like Martha or closer to Mary?




Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019