13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
July 1, 2017 by
David Jackson in
Reflections on Sunday Gospels
What does my life say about what my baptismal certificate signifies?
Introduction: Today’s readings confront us with the question:
What does it mean to be a disciple? We get two broad answers to that
question. In the first reading we hear of the woman who receives the
prophet and practices the virtue of hospitality. In the Gospel we have
a collection of the sayings of Jesus which name four aspects of being a
Homily: In today’s first reading we hear the story of the woman who
welcomed Elisha. This reading accents her hospitality. In the book of
Kings the story is further developed and we see different sides of this
woman. When her son dies later she is very aggressive and determined in
pursuing the prophet. But in this reading she is an example of
hospitality. Hospitality is something that we know immediately when we
are recipients of it. Priests who visit homes come as a representative
of the Church. They meet many people who are experts
in hospitality. They make you feel at home. The words mi casa es su
casa are not just a formality but a reality. A couple of weeks ago I
heard Bernard Cooke, a theologian speaking about the early church
welcoming prophets. He said that the prophet would be welcomed and
invited to eat with the people. But if after a couple of days the
prophet did not pitch in with the dishes or other tasks he would be
informed: There is another house down there who needs a prophet.
Hospitality is not to encourage free loading or people taking advantage
In the Gospel Jesus give us four sayings to challenge our
First point. If we love father or mother, son or
daughter more than God we are not worthy of Jesus. In the ideal
situation, family helps us to live the Christian life. They help us to
love God first and above all. A problem arises when family is
leading us away from practicing the Christian life. “Everybody is doing
it and so can we.” The reality is that many things that Everybody is
doing are wrong and sinful.
Second point. We must take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Jesus was aware of the severity of the cross, a punishment
for the worst criminals, a Roman punishment. But he did not
shy from telling us that the cross needs to be part of our life.
He not only spoke of the cross but died on the cross.
Third point. If we want to gain our life we must lose it,
to gain the life in this world is to lose it in the next.
This is a bit of a paradoxical statement. But it points to the
fact that the present material reality is not all there
is. We believe in spiritual realities. We must do nothing to lose
sight of our God.
Fourth point. The gift of a cold drink of water given
in Jesus name will not go without reward. These words can be understood
literally. But they can also be understood figuratively. Is there
someone asking something of me, fairly insignificant, that I can give in
We have certificates that we treasure in our lives, high school
diploma, further degrees. Doctors, Dentists have their licenses up on
their walls. As Christians we also have a certificate that we cherish our
baptismal certificate. But that certificate is not the proof of our
being disciples of Jesus. We must measure our life and actions against
the teachings of Jesus. As the Gospel of Matthew continues we will
notice that the miracles of Jesus will decrease and more people will be
making the choice to reject Jesus. This can also happen to us.