Sunday, July 2
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 10: 37 – 42
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 a righteous man
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.”
It’s hard to follow Jesus Christ, to be a Christian, but it’s worth it.
That sums up the message our Lord is trying to communicate to us in today’s Gospel passage and it’s a message that we constantly need to be reminded of. At first, it almost seems like Jesus is trying to discourage us from following him. He warns that friendship with him is demanding. To be a true friend of Jesus Christ means that everything else has to be put in second place. Everything has to be put on the table, even personal dreams, even family ties. The demands of our friendship with Jesus Christ will require us to carry a cross, to sacrifice self-gratifying desires, maybe even to endure great suffering. That sounds hard, painful, maybe even unreasonable.
But the good Lord knows what He is doing.
And if he calls us to this kind of life style, which he does, it’s only because he knows that this is the path to lasting happiness. If we are truly living for God, to give him glory and to build up his Kingdom in the world, then God will take care of us. We will not lose our reward. In order to share Christ’s life, the life of the redeemed soul, the new life of grace won for us by Christ’s passion and resurrection, then we must also share in His death. We have to die to self, to put to death all selfish and self-centered desires, in order to rise with Christ and to live the life of the Spirit, the life that gives true meaning and satisfaction to our lives. Yes, it is hard to follow Jesus, but it is worth it. In truth, nothing else even comes close.
Deacon Chris Tuttle