OT XIII (July 2) 2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a; Rom 6:3-4, 8-11; Mt 10:37-42

Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the work God gives us to do as the followers of Jesus: to love God and our brothers and sisters through hospitality, generosity, commitment and charity. The readings also remind us of the sacrifice demanded of Jesus’ disciples and the suffering they will endure for their Faith when they bear witness to him. 

Anecdote:

One day a poor boy was going door to door and selling goods in a small town in order to make little money for his education, since it was late noon he found hungry and decided to ask someone for meal and knocked the door of the next house. When a lovely and young lady opened the door the boy lost his nerve, instead of a meal he asked for a glass of water. She thought  he looked hungry so brought a large glass of milk the boy drank the milk slowly and asked the lady, "how much do I owe to you now?"

The young lady replied, "Mother thought us never accept any payment for kindness, therefore you owe nothing to me."

The boy was quite happy and thanked the lady from the bottom of his heart and left.

Years later the young lady became critically ill. She was admitted in a local hospital and the Doctors were baffled, they finally send her to the big city where they called specialist Dr. Haved Kelly for consultation.  When he heard the name of the town the patient came from a strange light filled him and he immediately went to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to consultation room determined to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle the battle was won. Dr. Havad Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval; he looked at it signed and sent it to her room. As she opened it she felt sure it would take rest of her life to pay off. Finally she looked and something caught her attention at the edge of the bill.

She read the following words: “Paid in full for one glass of milk,” signed by Dr. Haved Kelly. 

Scripture lessons:

In our first reading, we see, in Elijah’s welcome by a childless woman who lived in Shunem, a radical illustration of all four works. The woman recognized the holiness of Elisha. She showed him reverence and hospitality by inviting him to dine with her and her husband and by allowing the prophet to occupy an upper room of her house. In response, Elisha promised her, "This time next year you will be fondling a baby son." The promise was fulfilled by God. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans, explains why those who care for the followers of Jesus are caring for Jesus himself, and those who show hospitality to any one of them are eligible for reward. By our Baptism, we have been baptized into Jesus’ death and buried with him, and we look forward to resurrection with him (Rom 6:5). Since Baptism is our entrée into this new life, it makes us part of the Body of Christ, and Christ is truly present in us. That is why the one who welcomes us welcomes Christ and becomes eligible for reward. Today's Gospel lesson concludes Jesus' great “missionary discourse” in which he instructs his twelve disciples on the cost and the reward of the commitment required of a disciple. The first half of these sayings of Jesus details the behavior expected from his disciples and the second half speaks of the behavior of others towards the disciples. Even the shameful death on the cross is not too high a price to pay if one is to be a true disciple because the reward is great. Jesus assures his disciples that whoever shows them hospitality will be blessed. Those who receive Jesus receive the One who sent him. So, too, those who help the "little ones" (messengers) will be amply rewarded.

Life Message:

Be hospitable and generous: Hospitality means acknowledging the presence of God in others and serving Him, especially in those whom we least expect to find Him. We as a community are to look for the opportunities to be hospitable--and, of course, there are plenty of ways of offering hospitality.  

Maybe hospitality is offered through a kind word to a stranger - or even a smile. A kind smile or a “hello" to someone waiting with us in a grocery line may be the only kindness that person encounters all day. We become fully alive as Christians through the generous giving of ourselves. What is more important than sending checks for charitable causes is giving of ourselves to people -- in the way we speak to them and about them, in the way we forgive their failings, in the way we encourage them, console them and help them, and even in the way we think about them. These types of generosity reflect warmth radiating from the very love of God.  

OT XIII (July 2) 2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a; Rom 6:3-4, 8-11; Mt 10:37-42