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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 13th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Kgs 4:8-11.14-16a): One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So she said to her husband, «I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there».

Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight. Later Elisha asked, «Can something be done for her?». His servant Gehazi answered, «Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years». Elisha said, «Call her». When the woman had been called and stood at the door, Elisha promised, «This time next year you will be fondling a baby son».
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the Lord I will sing forever, through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, «My kindness is established forever»; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

Blessed the people who know the joyful shout; in the light of your countenance, o Lord, they walk. At your name they rejoice all the day, and through your justice they are exalted.

You are the splendor of their strength, and by your favor our horn is exalted. For to the Lord belongs our shield, and the Holy One of Israel, our king.
2nd Reading (Rom 6:3-4.8-11): Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Pt 2:9): Alleluia. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 10,37-42): Jesus said to his apostles, «Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and come after me is not worthy of me. One who wants to benefit from his life will lose it; one who loses his life for my sake will find it.

»Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. The one who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive the reward of a prophet; the one who welcomes a just man because he is a just man will receive the reward of a just man. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is a disciple of mine, I assure you, he will not go unrewarded».

«And whoever does not take up his cross and come after me is not worthy of me. Whoever welcomes you welcomes me»

Fr, Antoni POU OSB Monk of Montserrat (Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, listening to Jesus' words: «Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…» (Mt 10:37) we cannot help being taken somewhat aback. However, if we mull over these words a little more intently, we may discern the lesson our Lord is transmitting us: for the true Christian, God and his Kingdom are the only absolute Reality. Each person must first discover his/her vocation —maybe this is the most delicate task to carry out— and, subsequently, he/she must remain faithful to it. If a Christian has a matrimonial vocation, he/she must realize that carrying it out certainly implies loving his/her family as Christ loves his Church.

On the other hand, vocation to priesthood or religious life requires giving priority to one's faith over any family ties, provided this does not mean failing the basic requisites of christian charity. Family ties cannot enslave and strangle our vocation, to which we have been called. Below the word “love” there may be a possessive desire of the other person that limits his/her freedom to display his/her human and Christian life; whether it is a fear to abandon the family nest and face the life demands or the call from Jesus to follow him. It is this love deformation that Jesus is asking us to transform into a gratuitous and generous loving, because, as St. Augustine says: «Christ has come to transform love».

For our fellow man and, most than all, for our family, who are normally those closer to us and also constitute the “neighbour” Jesus is requesting us to love, love and welcome will always remain the nucleous of our Christian life. In accepting the other one there is always Christ’s acceptance: «Whoever welcomes you welcomes me» (Mt 10:40). We must therefore see and know the Lord in those we serve, while recognizing Christ as our saviour in those serving us.