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THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A


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Since Pentecost, our gospel readings have challenged us to think about mission. We have received the Holy Spirit, and now the question is: How do we move into the world to help bring about Christ’s kingdom? This is our third week in Matthew’s tenth chapter, where we have been reminded to follow the apostles into the world, to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed, to move into the fields ready for harvest, and to pray for more workers. We have been warned that we will not be treated well on our mission and that it will create division even in our own homes.

 we learn that our role in the mission is not only as those who are sent out but also as those who receive others on the mission. The focus is on welcoming. Jesus uses the word “welcome” six times in this brief passage of only three verses and points us to the importance of hospitality in furthering Jesus’ Kingdom. We are called to consider more deeply what it means to welcome one another.

On reviewing the list from verses 40-42, we realize that this welcome can and ought to be practiced by us at any time  our welcoming does not need to consist of large, heroic acts. Any simple, basic acts of kindness we offer as genuine welcome for one another are all that God requires of us.

As people of faith, we are called to promote compassionate welcome that motivates us to trust, to be open, and to share  to become the people God has called us to be. We need God’s grace to help us with living into compassionate welcome with one another and extending genuine hospitality.

Members of early Christian communities were called “little ones,” regardless of their origin. Our efforts to welcome and love the little ones are important because Jesus sees it and receives it as worship. When we love the little ones, we love Jesus. In welcoming one another into our hearts, Jesus tells us that we are welcoming him into our hearts — welcoming God into our hearts.  

Like all the small acts  the life of faith is also made up of many small gestures – gestures like making a phone call to ask how a friend or stranger is doing, dropping off groceries for the elderly, reaching out to the lonely and most vulnerable among us. 
According to Jesus, there is no small gesture. A cup of cold water is the smallest of gifts – a gift that almost anyone can give. But a cup of cold water is precious to a person who is really thirsty – in some instances, the gift of life itself.


When poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was sent to prison in 1895, it was the ultimate humiliation for him. In his day, he was a real celebrity, but all that evaporated once he was convicted.   On one occasion, when the crowd was particularly hostile, a friend of Wilde appeared and made a simple gesture of respect that silenced the crowd.  As Wilde passed by, handcuffed and looking at the ground, the man simply raised his hat to him, the smallest of good deeds.

Later, Wilde wrote, “The memory of that lowly silent act of Love has unsealed for me all the wells of pity,  and brought me out of the bitterness of lonely exile.”

The smallest of good deeds: a little thing done in love. It doesn’t take much to be hospitable, welcoming, and accepting of other people.  And Jesus tells us that every single one of those small deeds is important – even eternally significant. It doesn’t take much; every one of us can achieve these things, and every one of us can make that difference. We can find God in those smallest of good deeds.

We are all called to be Christ to each other. Jesus sends us to share the Good News, alleviate human suffering, to meet real needs, to work miracles of love and healing through acts of kindness… cups of water. We are called to remember that we, too, are to go as people willing to receive those same acts of kindness. When we welcome one another, we discover the reward that comes from the deep hospitality found in God’s welcome of us.
 
 

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