THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“What is my relationship with my family of origin? How do I relate to my parents, my sisters, my brothers and to my extended family? How do I relate to friends? How do I relate to those in authority over me?” These are the challenges from the readings this week. We begin with the first reading, from the Second Book of Kings. This is such a wonderful reading! We see the concern of
the Prophet for this woman who has no son. The Prophet, like many religious leaders, is able to benefit from the love and care of those who are relatively well off. Now it is a question of how
to thank such people. Most of us would not think of promising a baby! On the other hand, the Prophets have more resources than we do! We also know that later, when this baby is a young man, he dies unexpectedly and the woman turns again to the Prophet. The gifts of Prophets and of God Himself are not always without suffering!
The second reading is from the Letter to the Romans. Here we find a strong theology for ourselves. If we have died in Christ, then we must embrace that death so that we can live in Christ. We must become dead to sin. That is so easy to say or to state, yet the reality implies for us and for all who seek the Lord that we must enter the spiritual combat and remain in combat all the days of our lives. The life of Jesus is a wonderful gift and yet always comes with the condition of death to sin in ourselves. We are invited to embrace the struggle against sin each day so that we can live more and more in the Lord.
The Gospel, today from Saint Matthew, brings the first two readings together. We must love God more than anything or anyone. We must love Christ more than our parents, our sisters, our brothers, our children—more than anyone. This statement never implies not loving our parents, sisters, brothers, children, etc., but simply tells us that God is more important.

If we are looking for our own life, we shall lose that life. It is only in giving up our lives that we are given life. This is one of the great challenges of following Jesus. The more we deny ourselves, the more life of Jesus we have. The strong reminder: when we deny ourselves, we are doing this out of love and not out of any other motive. If we judge others, then we condemn ourselves. If we seek simply what the Lord asks of us today and every day, we are blessed—over and over and over.

Father Jesus