WelCom July 2017:
Gospel, Matthew 10:37‒42
37 ‘No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me. 38 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. 39 Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. 40 ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person. 42 ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.’
The Gospel readings for the four Sundays in July 2017 are taken from St Matthew. All are from Year A, Cycle 1. Jesus says, ‘Who ever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me’.
The Dilemma; Family First or Jesus First?
The reading from Matthew 10:37-42 seems hard and unreasonable. We see Jesus telling his apostles that anyone who prefers mother or father to Him is not worthy of Him. His same teaching applies to parents with children. Then Jesus goes on to warn that those who refuse to take up their cross and follow Him are also not worthy of Him and finally He warns against those who are living the ‘good Life’.
Jesus makes it clear that those who wish to follow Him must renounce themselves. The road to salvation will not be an easy one.
Perhaps we should look at the context of today’s gospel where Jesus is addressing His apostles. The seriousness of this discourse sees Matthew naming the twelve and identifying who they are. Then Jesus sends them on their mission, telling them when to go, what to do, how to do it and what will or will not happen.
The tasks are not appealing; they may be persecuted, but this must not stop them from speaking. Despite the risks, Jesus tells them to be fearless and speak out. He lets them know of the downside if they do not.
Jesus then tells his apostles that he has not come to bring peace to the world but dissension, and that is the lead up to today’s gospel. How and why? The final two verses apply to us. We noted at Pentecost last month, Jesus breathed on His disciples filling them with the Holy Spirit. As we, the confirmed, go out with the Good News, be mindful that we too are filled with the Holy Spirit, so let us be careful and prayerful in what we say.
We may be the only bible some people will ever read. As we preach the Kingdom of God, practically or verbally, we know that Our Lord’s message is both radical and urgent. May Matthew’s closing lines telling us the value of even a cup of cold water, given in Christ’s name, will soften the frightening lines given at the start. Our efforts will be rewarded generously by our Saviour, on the other side of the grave.
Tom Gibson is a retired dairy farmer and a parishioner at The Immaculate Conception in Stratford.