Scripture Readings: 2 Kings 4.8-11,14-16; Romans 6.3-4,8-11; Matthew 10.37-42
“Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life will find it. Whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” – Matthew 10.38-40
Sayings multiply because the comparisons and wordplay that make them memorable tend to generate additional versions. Sunday’s gospel applies the same point in several ways. Faith is a wholehearted entrusting of one’s self to whom or what one considers ultimate. The men and women who followed Jesus during his public life left their homes and walked with him. To believe in Jesus is a relationship so fundamental that it claims allegiance deeper than family ties. We choose self-giving as our way of life as it was for Jesus. It means taking up Jesus’ cross. Discipleship demands willingness to walk the walk Jesus did and trust God that one will find one’s life in giving it.
The hospitality sayings apply the principle of reciprocity. The way we welcome people to our homes is the way we welcome Jesus. When violent acts dominate the news the threat of violence can seem pervasive. Every stranger becomes a threat rather than potential friend. To rebuild community in our urban and suburban neighborhoods, we need to learn our neighbors’ names and those of their children. We need to exercise safe ways to welcome new people into our lives. Human and Christian community depend on hospitality. It is the means for gathering all into communion at God’s table.
What is an example of a relationship in which giving of yourself helped you find yourself? What strangers in your neighborhood do you fear? How might friends work together to welcome them in safe ways?