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Choosing the Better Part | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Hospitality is a common theme in the Scriptures. Today the first reading and Gospel are stories about welcoming God’s presence with hospitality and how it enriches our lives.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

Abraham and Sarah had been waiting forever to have a baby. When Abraham welcomed the “three men,” he didn’t realize that they were angels—but they were! By offering these travelers common hospitality, he and Sarah were given the good news that by that time next year, Sarah would have a son.

In the Gospel, Jesus went to visit with his friends, Martha and Mary. They were Lazarus’ sisters. At a time when nobody bothered to teach girls anything, Jesus was willing to teach Martha and Mary everything. But Martha took her responsibility to provide hospitality very seriously and wouldn’t sit still. She was ignoring her company and her opportunity to know God on a level that very few people in history ever would. Jesus’ invitation for Martha to “choose the better part” as Mary did redefines the meaning of hospitality—and especially what it means to welcome Christ’s presence.

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C


Break Open the Word with Your Family


Do you think it’s unfair when you have to do work and other people don’t? Does it ever happen that other people have to do work and you don’t?


Do you ever begrudge other people when something good happens to them? If you ever catch yourself doing that, think about what choices they made to get where they are. What choices could you make that would improve your happiness?


Are you more like Mary or Martha? Do you miss out on opportunities to enjoy life because you are too busy? What “business” keeps you from enjoying the people around you?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.


A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.


The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”


Follow Jen Schlameuss-Perry:

Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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