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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2020

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

Second Book of Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a

Psalm 89

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 6:3-4, 8-11

Matthew 10:37-42

I suspect that rewards and rewarding are not concepts which fit easily the image we humans have of an infinitely loving God.  A prize always goes to the winner and the winners are crowned because of their great efforts of physical or intellectual powers.

Let’s use our imaginations of wives and husbands welcoming home their heroic spouses from the terrors of war.  Or marathon runners crossing the finish line, regardless if they are first or last to finish the race, and being gathered into the arms of friends and fellow competitors.  Welcoming has a dual reward for both the welcomed and the welcome.

In today’s first reading from the Second Book of Kings we hear a wonderful story of the welcome receiving a blessing for her reverence and care.  Elisha is a holy man whom the childless “woman of influence” would often welcome into her home and asks for nothing in return.  One time upon leaving the woman’s home, Elisha asked his servant what might be done for her for being so kind and hospitable.  The servant simply said that she had no son.  We all know what occurs next.  Elisha tells the woman before he leaves her home, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”  We can be sure that the woman fondling her son within the following year loved the baby and the God who sent him.

In today’s Gospel narrative we, as disciples of Jesus, listen to His words addressed directly to us telling us how we are to open our lives to Him, to place Him above our family and friends even to the point of bearing His cross.  Our welcome is to be whole-hearted and if we are in any doubt as to where we are to exercise this total acceptance of Christ in our life we have only to turn to our neighbor as Jesus reminds us, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”  

We may expect that Christ will come to our doors in many disguises and almost always at the wrong time.  He may not even be wearing clerical garb.  We may find Him hidden in the stranger, the outcast of society, the shunned neighbor, and the child needing attention or someone who is ill.  We are all familiar with fairytales of princesses hidden in rags and of princes imprisoned as toads.  Every child’s eyes light up in wonder at the moment when the disguise is dropped and the truth revealed. 

Jesus continues by saying, “And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple” is a simple sign of Christian charity.  Our Lord is telling us that it is not what is given that counts but the heart with which it is given.

Unfortunately the “mind” of our society sometimes tends to measure the bare requirement due from one person to another.  This attitude does not make for a happy environment.  “Cups of cold water” may be translated into a phone call, a smile or a word of appreciation.  The cost is little but how the world today is crying out for “cups of cold water.” 

Christianity calls on us to make space for Christ and His message in our lives.  Where then do we find this space?  Is it my time to seek Him?  Is it in a quiet space in my life where I can turn to welcome the indwelling of Christ in my heart?  What is the answer?

Sisters and brothers, Mary is the answer.  Our Blessed Mother is the model of Christian hospitality.  She made a space in her heart for the Word just as she made a space in her womb for His body.  She pondered His Words in her heart so that gradually her whole life was filled with His presence.  Mary is the answer because she teaches us the value of hospitality toward others.  She teaches us to be welcoming to all those who may be in need.  Most importantly, she teaches us that by following her Son, our Risen Lord, we too may reap the reward of eternal life in God’s Kingdom.

Question of the Day:  With God’s grace how will you try to extend a heart-felt welcome to others whose lives touch yours?

Prayer:  “Father, your truth is made known in your Word.  Guide us to seek the truth of the human person.  Teach us the way to love because you are love.  Jesus, you embody Love and Truth.  Help us to recognize your face to the poor.  Enable us to live out our vocation to bring love and justice to your people.  Holy Spirit, you inspire us to transform our world.  empower us to seek the common good for all persons.  Give us a spirit of solidarity and make us one human family.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.”  (Prayer based on Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth.)

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

Prosit  

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