July 13, 2020

Gospel MT 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
“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.
“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Reflection

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.”

Jesus understood and history has taught that when a cause arises, struggle is bound to follow. We see that truth playing out today in the turmoil brought about by efforts to redress our country’s sad history of racial discrimination. Families are divided: father against son, mother against daughter, friend against friend. Jesus’ message to “turn the other cheek” and “love thy enemy” has been drowned out by the anger of the conflict.

“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.”

As followers of Christ, the “cross” that we are challenged to “take up” is to spread Jesus’ message: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.”

Some would say that the prophet’s reward was death at the hands of those who rejected his message that God’s desire is that we “love one another.”
In the midst of violence and hate, do I have the courage and commitment to my beliefs? Can I be a prophet and proclaim Jesus’ message, “Love one another as I have loved you?

“And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

As a follower of Christ, what is the “cup of water” that I am called to carry to those on both sides of the conflict?

Certainly it is not another argument of who is right or who is wrong.

Instead, will I choose to carry the cup of a listening heart and a willingness to live what I profess to believe? “Turn the other cheek…take the plank from your own eye…Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6)

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45 (NASB)