July 2, 2017
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
37 "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; 38 and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 40 "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 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. 42 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."
The gospel text for this Sunday is the conclusion of Jesus’ instructions to the twelve before he sends them out to preach to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In the gospels Jesus often draws on the images of sheep and shepherds to illustrate the kind of relationship the religious leaders should have toward the people. Today’s gospel is part of his instructions to his disciples as he sends them to the lost sheep. He is sharing the mission that he has received with them.
The admonition that a disciple must love Jesus more than one’s family would sound even more shocking to Jesus’ contemporaries than it does to people today. Most of us are raised in a way that will prepare us for the day when we will leave home to start our own families. Many today assume that this may include moving to another city or even a different country. For a person to leave one’s family at the time of Jesus was totally unacceptable, and it would likely result in the death of all but the most resourceful. A person’s worth, esteem, honor, and financial support were all based in their family. Those outside the family were viewed with suspicion.
While Jesus’ instruction reminds the disciples of what they are leaving behind, he also tells them what they will receive in exchange. They will go out as representatives of Jesus himself. They are the first ones who have received a prophet, Jesus himself, and they will receive the prophet’s reward. As the simplest act of courtesy, giving a cup of water (or the use of a bathroom) will reap abundant blessing from God, the gift of their sacrifice to proclaim God’s coming will be blessed in the same way. Jesus’ instruction would have made a shocking impact on the early disciples as they prepared to proclaim the coming of God. He reminds them of the dedication required of them and the great blessing being bestowed on them for their willingness to accept this responsibility.
1. Have there been times in your life when you felt worthy? When were these?
2. Have there been times in your life when you felt unworthy? When were these?
3. Do you have any meaningful relationships that are always enjoyable, life-giving, and rewarding?
4. When it comes to your spiritual life and your relationship with God, is it easier for you to see God’s spirit accompanying you in the good times or in the difficult and painful periods of your life?
5. Do you know people who have given up “normal” family relationships in order to pursue some opportunity or dream?
6. How did your parents feel about you moving out of their home? How do you think it compared to the time when they left the home of their parents?
7. What are some of the things that have come between you and members of your family or friends?
8. Do you think of yourself as one of Jesus’ disciples who have also been sent? How do you hear this instruction from Jesus?
9. To whom might Jesus be sending you?
10. Mary, Francis, Clare, and many other saints and ordinary people have grown to discover a love of God that is so strong that they were willing to sacrifice their relationships with family and friends to pursue their relationship with God. Can you imagine that kind of passion in your relationship with God?
11. Can you talk with God about how you feel about being sent out as one of His disciples?
On Wednesday of each week, the Gospel and reflection questions for the upcoming Sunday are posted at the following link: http://il-ritiro.org/gospel-reflections.aspx. You are invited to share your own reflection and comments with others at this website.
The reflection and questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel.
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Excerpts from the Readings for July 2, 2017, the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
One day Elisha came to Shunem, where there was a woman who urged him to dine with her.
Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.
She said to her husband, "Elisha is a holy man of God. Let us arrange a little room on the roof
and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there."
Some time later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.
Later Elisha asked, "Can something be done for her?"
His servant Gehazi answered, "Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years."
Elisha said, "Call her." When the woman had been called and stood at the door,
Elisha promised, "This time next year you will be fondling a baby son."
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever;" in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout; in the light of your countenance they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day, and through your justice they are exalted.
You are the splendor of their strength, and by your favor our horn is exalted.
To the Lord belongs our shield, and the Holy One of Israel, our king.
Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said to his apostles:
"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 the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."
Excerpts from 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16A; Psalm 89:2-3, 16-19; Romans 6:3-4, 8-11; and Matthew 10:37-42