Theme: HOSPITALITY AND DISCIPLESHIP
- 2 Kings 4:8-11. 14-16
- Romans 6:3-4. 8-11
- Matthew 10:37-42
Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings today tell us about hospitality! The readings also tell us that we will be reward for our hospitality!
The gospel tells us that if we welcome a prophet of God we will receive the same reward as the prophet, and if we welcome a holy man, we will receive the same reward as the holy man! And if we welcome a disciple of Jesus Christ, we will not lose our reward!
The first reading from the second book of the Kings tells us that a woman from Shunem was hospitable to the prophet Elisha. She built him a room and furnished it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. And she gave him food to eat. And the woman was rewarded with a son though her husband was old!
A son for us symbolizes new life and long life, not only quantitative life, but also qualitative life, eternal life, happy, healthy, loving, peaceful, and joyful life!
The first reading of yesterday’s (Saturday’s) morning mass was from Genesis 18:1-15. It was on the hospitality of Abraham! Abraham welcomed 3 men and gave them food and drink under a tree! The 3 men were God Himself and 2 angels! Abraham did not know that they were God Himself and 2 angels! Abraham was rewarded with a son though both Abraham and his wife Sarah were old and had no son! Abraham’s son was Isaac!
The Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us to be hospitable to the prophets of God, to the holy men of God, and to the disciples of Jesus Christ, and we will be duly rewarded!
All of us who have been baptized are the prophets of God, the holy men of God, and the disciples of Jesus Christ! We have to be hospitable to one another, especially to the poor and the needy!
The prophets of God, and the holy men of God, and the disciples of Jesus Christ are not only the priests, the religious, and the lay missionaries, but they are all who speak God’s word, live holy lives, and are baptized!
But to be hospitable to the disciples of Jesus Christ also means that we become the disciples of Jesus Christ ourselves, because to welcome the disciples of Jesus Christ is to welcome Jesus Christ, and to welcome Jesus Christ is to welcome the Father who sent him, and to welcome the Father who sent him is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!
In fact, taken on its own, the main message of the gospel of today is about discipleship!
“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 follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:37-39/CSB)!
We love Jesus Christ more than father or mother, son or daughter, or even oneself, because Jesus Christ loves us more than our fathers and mothers love us, we love Jesus Christ more than our sons and daughters, because Jesus Christ loves us more than our sons and daughters love us, and we love Jesus Christ more than we love ourselves, because Jesus Christ loves us more than we love ourselves, and Jesus Christ loves us more than he loves himself!
He died in love for us! He rose from the dead in love for us! He gave the Holy Spirit in love for us! And he gave us new and eternal life in love for us!
St. Paul tells us in the second reading from the letter to the Romans that this is the meaning of baptism! In baptism we die and rise with Jesus Christ to a new life! In baptism we die to sin and we live a new life for God in Jesus Christ! We become the disciples of Jesus Christ!
Today in this Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us his Holy Spirit, and make us into his disciples!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.