Sunday Readings & Reflections


THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 

Theme of the Sunday: The Glass of Water Given to the Prophet. The first reading and the second part of the gospel of today tell us about a problem which is our attitude towards those who devote their lives to the proclamation of salvation. The second reading could be seen under this light too since it speaks of entry into the new life of baptism. This sacrament demands generosity towards those who have pledged their lives to the gospel.

First Reading:  2Kgs 4:8-11. 14-16a;
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 89: 2-3. 16-17. 18-19 (R.cf.2a)
Second Reading: Romans 6:3-4. 8-11
Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42
Resources used:
*The Sunday Missal, Paulines Publications Africa
*Painting: Poster No. 53, Pentecost – by  S. Ajak Bullen



Sunday Readings

First Reading 2 Kings 4:8-11.14-l6a

“That is the holy man of God, let him remain there.”
A reading from the second Book of Kings

JOne day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.” One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, “What is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” He said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. And he said, “At this season, when the time comes round, you shall embrace a son.”

The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 89:2-3.16-17.18-19 (R. cf. 2a)

R. I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord.


I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your fidelity.
I have declared your mercy is established forever;
your fidelity stands firm as the heavens.
R. I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord.


How blessed the people who know your praise,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
who find their joy every day in your name,
who make your justice their joyful acclaim.
R. I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord.

For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favour it is that our might is exalted.
Behold, the Lord is our shield;
he is the Holy One of Israel, our king.
R. I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord.








SECOND READING
Romans 6:3-4.8-11

“Having been buried with him by baptism, let us walk in newness of life.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brethren: All of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The word of the Lord.

Alleluia. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Alleluia.
GOSPEL READING
Matthew 10:37-42

“He who does not take his cross is not worthy of me. He who receives you, receives me.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

The Gospel of the Lord.



Sunday Reflections


THIRTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

COSTS AND REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP
This Gospel is the last part of Jesus’ instructions on mission. It emphasizes that to be a disciple of Jesus means to be ready to make sacrifices. It may mean opting for Jesus over all others, even those most dear to us such as our parents. We may be asked to lay down our lives. In one word, to become a disciple of Jesus is to take up the cross and to follow Jesus. Missionaries who teach this will find opposition. But all who accept it and help to fulfill this mission will get their reward.
Preferring Jesus to Parents and to Self

In his instruction on mission, Jesus pointed out that those who take part in his mission will face opposition but that they should not be afraid to stand up for him (Mt 10:16-33). One of the hardest things, Jesus warns them, it could divide our families. Even in our own families there will be some who will reject him (Mt 10:34-36). The temptation might be to say, “I can continue no longer in this work:”
The Gospels often use powerful images to bring a point across to the hearer / reader. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told his hearers that it is impossible to serve both God and money (Mt 6:24). Later on, in the instructions on the lives of believers, he underlines the seriousness of leading others to sin by saying that a limb that causes us to sin should be cut off (Mt 18:5-10). Such images seem exaggerated but they show us that it is costly to be a disciple of the Kingdom. The invitation for the missionary that he takes up his cross and follow Jesus (Mt 10:38) is a difficult one but it is not optional. It is mentioned here for the first time in the Gospel of Matthew. He will come back to it with greater force (Mt 16:24-25) when he reveals to the disciples what type of Messiah he is and that he will suffer, die and rise again in Jerusalem. Here too he offers the cross as part of discipleship.

Vatican II reminds us that each Christian, by virtue of his/her baptism, is a missionary. But we cannot really participate in the mission of Jesus unless we are ready to accept to pay the price of discipleship. So often we look for the approval of others and want them to have a good opinion of us. We must put these natural desires behind us if we respond to Jesus’ call to be his missionaries. It is God whose approval matters.

Little Prophets in God’s Name

Jesus tells that there is a very special relationship between himself and his missionaries. He identifies himself with those whom he sends (Mt 10:40). Jesus is sent to us as God’s missionary to show us his love and show us how to be his children and in the end to be saved (In 3:16). Those sent by Jesus participate in his mission and must show the love of God to the world today.

Those sent by Jesus are prophets. The message they announce is both the message about God and from God. They will denounce the injustices of their day and will commit themselves to the struggle to bul1d a world where God has a rightful place and where all human beings are respected. This was the mission of the prophets of Israel. It is also the work of every missionary today.

However, the ones who are sent are always ‘little ones’. They don’t go out on their own account. They are bearers of God’s message never the owners of the message. They must continue to learn and to listen God.

The instruction ends by mentioning the reward given to those who welcome those sent by Jesus (Mt 10:42). How do we help our missionaries? Would we be able to go to places where there is as yet no Christian Community?

*Adapted from: “Bible Study and Sharing on the Gospel of Matthew for Christian Communities”, by Richard Baawobr M.Afr — Paulines Publications Africa, 2016.