Skip to main content

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

God takes care of his own.  What does that mean?  Put another way, those who love God and show love to others will not be denied their eternal reward.  Our readings this week show us not only what God expects of us as followers, but what rewards could come our way by showing our love to him and one another…

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Matthew 10:37-42

Our first reading comes from the 2nd Book of Kings.  The prophet Elisha (student of the great prophet Elijah) has been traveling, so when he enters the town of Shunem, a woman of influence urges him to dine with her.  This eventually became a regular thing, so the woman askes her husband to arrange a small room for him in which he can stay when he comes to town.  Elisha is so moved by this gesture that he feels he must do something for the woman.  Seeing that she had no children, he promises that this time next year she will have a baby son.  Now on the surface this seems like a grand gift for such a small gesture, but what we need to remember is that this is a time of great turmoil in Israel, and Elisha is not exactly welcome in the court of Israel.  The town of Shunem is some 60 miles north of Jerusalem, well enough away from trouble, but not so far as to realize that the entire region has been struggling with war and drought.  The woman’s offer to accommodate him is significant and shows a certain love that the prophet feels needs to be rewarded in kind.  That love is also expressed in our Psalm when we sing, “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

Our Gospel from Matthew takes this idea of reward even further.  Picking up shortly where we left off last week, Jesus is teaching  the Apostles about what it takes to follow him and gain eternal life.  On the surface, what Jesus says seems rather harsh… that we must love him more than our own parents, our own children.  But we need to realize that Jesus is trying to redirect our attention to those things that are more important… not that family isn’t important, but that our love of God and our kindness and love to others much be our primary calling… for it is from this love that all other love flow, ensuring our eternal reward.

Our Second reading continues our study of Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Here Paul gives us the deeper meaning of Baptism by reminding us that when we are baptized, we are following Christ through death, resurrection, and redemption.  We die to our old selves, and are reborn free from sin.  To some the act of Baptism my seem symbolic, especially to the Roman community to which he is teaching, so Paul wants them to know that it is much more… that through our baptism we follow Jesus from death to new life.

Final thoughts:
What does God want of us?  It’s a fairly common question, particularly when we are faced with troubled times.  Our readings for this week remind us.  God wants us to love him and love one another.  Above all else.  Above our parents.  Above our on children.  Above all our worldly possessions and position.  What we forget, however, is that if we put God first, if we put love of others first, everything else falls into place.  There is nothing new here in our readings this week… God has been trying to teach us this from the beginning.  Thankfully, however, we have Jesus as our advocate, to forgive us when we falter, and to constantly remind us least we stray.  It is so easy to get distracted, which is why reminders like what we have this week are so important.


Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…