COMMENTARIES FROM THE HEART (By Fr. Anthony Agnes)
13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A (02.07.2023)
First Reading: 2 Kings 4:8-11,13-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 88(89):2-3,16-19
Second Reading: Romans 6:3-4,8-11
Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42
Theme: “He Will Supply Your Needs”
“Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.”
These words might sound strange but Jesus is not asking us not to love our parents or our children. Since the love for our family members is dear and important to us, Jesus is rather asking us to give him more of that love. In fact, to love him more than we love our family members. Our love for God and for the things of God should always come before the love for family and personal interests. He once told us: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22.37). This is what Jesus is saying when he tells us today that he who loves father or mother or children more than him is not worthy of him. When we love God first and above everything else, then we can know how to love our family and friends.
The love of God also involves welcoming and loving those who work for God and those who assist in the works of His Church. Jesus highlighted this in the Gospel: “Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward”. The truth is that every love we give to God or done for the sake of God, comes back to us. Nothing given to God is ever forgotten. God remembers our love and sacrifices because he cannot afford to owe us. He pays back by rewarding us beyond measure. This is what we read about in the first Reading involving the Prophet Elisha and the woman at Shunem. On her own initiative, the woman decided to provide the needs of the prophet whenever he passed by their house. She even told her husband: “Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God. Let us build him a small room on the roof”. She saw Elisha as a holy man and thus offered him her hospitality. Because of her kindness to the holy man she received a holy man’s reward as Jesus told us in the Gospel. God rewarded her through the holy man, the prophet Elisha, by giving her a miracle of having a son at a time when her husband was too old. Every love and kindness done in the name of God is always rewarded.
Today, we are all invited to be like the woman of Shunem; to give to God by supporting the activities of His Church and her ministers and, more importantly, to love and support all those who stand for Christ and share in His mission of evangelization. We pray for peace and understanding in marriages by following the example of the Shunammite woman who first discussed her intentions with her husband and together they offered their generosity to the holy man. We also pray for couples who still seek the fruit of the womb for the visitation of the Lord upon their marriage. Amen!
Praise be Jesus Christ!
My Prayer: Loving Father, you remind us today that sometimes the answer to our needs and worries comes when we welcome others by focusing on our love on God. May your grace help us and guide us to receive our rewards. In Jesus name. Amen!
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