Called to renounce everything to follow Jesus.
“The one who loves his father and his mother more than me is not worthy of me!”
The Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Alleluia.
From the Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 10:37-42)
Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
In this 13th Sunday of ordinary time, we meditate on the final part of the Discourse on mission: “What is the fundamental requirement of Jesus to those who go on mission?” Jesus says: “He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves his son and his daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. Does he want to destroy family life? It cannot be so, because in another circumstance he insists on compliance of the fourth commandment, which prescribes to love father and mother. He himself has obeyed his parents in Nazareth. Jesus wants people go beyond the narrow limits of the small family, to open themselves to the big family, the community, so that the Kingdom of God may be manifested. He himself gives the example. When the members of his family seek him, he reacts looking around and saying: “Behold my mother, behold my brothers! Whoever does the will of my father, he is my brother and sister and mother”. As the great prophets of the past, Jesus recalls the deep meaning of the family and the Community, as a sign suggesting that the love of God is incarnated in the love of the neighbor. For this he asks of those who wish to be his disciple to leave father and mother, wife, brothers, sisters, house, everything! He himself testifies to this: “Truly I say unto you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive already at present a hundredfold in houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life” (Mk 10,29-30). Really, the one who has the courage to break the close circle of his family will meet again a hundred times everything he has abandoned in the community! The Cross of Jesus is the consequence of the obligation freely assumed to reveal the Good News that God is Father and then all the people must be accepted and treated as brothers and sisters. Due to such revolutionary announcement, Jesus was persecuted put to death. This awareness was widespread among the first Christians, because it expressed what they were experiencing. Paul, for example, to be faithful to Jesus had to lose everything he had: a career, the esteem of his people and to suffer persecution. This is the paradox of the Gospel: the last is the first, whoever loses wins, he who gives everything away keeps everything, he who dies lives. He who has the courage to lose his life will earn it.
For the missionary and for the disciple it is very important to know that he will never be alone. If he is faithful to his mission, he will have the certainty that Jesus identifies himself with him and, through Jesus, the Father is revealed to those to whom the Gospel is announced. And just as Jesus did reflect the face of the Father, so the disciples must or should be mirrors where people can glimpse something of the love of Jesus. Political decisions of the powerful are not enough to change the world and human coexistence. We need a change in the life of people, in interpersonal and community relationships. For this reason, Jesus gives importance to small gestures of sharing: a glass of water given to a poor!
With Nazarene eyes
“This sacred sign, that moves away the demons, reminds us at the same time the price of our soul, the love of the Divine Savior and his infinite goodness that prompted him to give us, from the top of the cross, Mary as Mother. Salvation and life are in the Cross; it is in the Church, dear Brothers, as the pious author of “The Imitation of Christ” says, that we will find shelter against our enemies, the sweetness of grace, the strength of the soul, the joy of the spirit, the perfection of virtues and the highest degree of holiness. Only in the Cross we can find the healing of our souls and the hope of eternal life. Let’s therefore carry our cross, i.e. all the struggles of our state and all the sufferings which God plans to send us; let us carry them willingly, recalling the words of Jesus Christ who said that the one who wants to be his disciple must surrender himself, carry his Cross and follow him.” (Bro. Gabriel Taborin – Circular n. 11 – of 1-9-1855)
“With your sincere acceptance of the Cross you will attain conversion without which there is no resurrection. The Cross is an integral part of the project of salvation which God has made with you. Live up to the ultimate consequence the extreme death; then you will rise in fullness for peace, joy and brotherhood.” (Constitutions-Prologue)
Let us pray
“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 89)
God shows his fidelity not only in great happenings. In Nazareth, he opens our eyes even to the dimension of the constant fidelity of God to his people. The wonder of his fidelity is not only recognizable “in lightning and thunder”, but even more when, day after day, one becomes a son, a brother, a father and a mother. In Nazareth, fidelity shows itself surprisingly humble! It is the fidelity of love, in which God becomes neighbor to you, your brother and sister. (Bro. Lino Da Campo)
Pour in us, O Father, the wisdom and the power of your Spirit, so that we walk with Christ on the way of the cross, ready to make of our life a gift that manifests to the world the hope of your kingdom. (Collect)