Today’s readings show us how great our reward can be if we make a commitment to our Lord. In the first reading [2 KGS 4:8-11, 14-16A], the older childless woman and her husband are promised a son for their simple yet generous hospitality toward Elisha, and as Saint Paul tells us in the second reading [ROM 6:3-4, 8-11], those of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were also baptized into His death, and thus the promise of eternal life.
Today’s Gospel [MT 10:37-42] is the conclusion of the instructions and consolations that we have heard Jesus offering to his apostles during the past few weeks. In this passage, Jesus summarizes both the costs of discipleship and its rewards. When He tells us that those who love their family members more than Him are not worthy of Him, He is not telling us not to love our parents or our children. In fact, He would be the first to encourage that.
Jesus is making it very clear that if we are going to truly live out the message of the Gospel, then it is inevitable that we are going to come into conflict with the world and the ways of the world, and for many of us that might include unwanted unpleasantness or tension between ourselves and family members or friends, even our own parents or siblings. When we choose to follow Jesus with our whole heart, we might face times when we must part company with others who don’t do the right things. We need to ask ourselves:
– Do I set priorities in my own actions and, more importantly, in my relationships?
– Am I choosing relationships that show I am a disciple of Jesus?
– Am I setting the right priorities in my relationships and my possessions?
If they are in line with Jesus’ will for you, then He will bless you abundantly.
Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship, and to a life of complete submission to Him still rings just as true and just as real today as it did when he said the words in the Gospel two thousand years ago. Jesus invites us to take up our cross and follow him, and to respond to those in need. When we help another in Jesus’ name, we extend hospitality to Jesus himself. When we reach out to others in our daily lives, our welcoming presence is truly a sign of God’s love, and the ultimate reward for this kind of complete embrace of Jesus Christ is that we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.