13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Theme : Welcome the lost! That’s what we do here!
1st Reading : 2 Kings 4:8-11.14-16
Responsorial Psalm : Ps 89
2nd Reading : Romans 6:3-4.8-11
Gospel : Matthew 10:37-42
- Last Sunday and again today, we have heard extracts from the missionary discourse of St. Matthew’s Gospel!
- The words Jesus speaks are addressed to his apostles as they set out on their mission to spread the Good News!
- Today, as we come to the end of the discourse, Jesus looks beyond the apostles, to those who will hear their message.
- A lot of churches are not going to survive this lockdown unless they become intentionally growing churches; unless they become concerned and focussed on those who will hear their message!
- Churches will only survive if they are concerned, not only with maintaining their members, but attracting them!
- Attracting the old back and attracting the new to discover and hear the message!
- So many Catholics – bishops, priests and people – have adopted a shallow and half-hearted attitude to the 5 biblical purposes for church ministry:
- Ministry, and
- These are meant to help us:
- preach the message,
- seek and save the lost!
- Jesus made the lost people his priority;
- he spent time where they spent time;
- he knew how to talk to them and what was important to them;
- he recognised their worries, fears, sorrows and sins!
- Jesus found lost people and then made them his disciples!
- He changed their lives and they became like him!
- This is the whole pattern for the life of the Church!
- But we forget, and settle for the easy, the comfortable, the known!
- We slide into a maintenance mindset!
- Our readings today, remind us that we are missionary – inviting and welcoming the stranger, the lost!
- Only when we work and strive to become attractive and accessible to outsiders and challenging to insiders, helping them to change and grow beyond a consumerist, what’s in it for me attitude to their faith and their parish community,
- will we be able to say that we are being faithful to the mission Jesus gave his apostles!
- We might be tempted to ask: “how do we make our parish grow?”
- Wrong question!
- We don’t make it grow, only God does that!
- But we can plant the seed and we can water it!
- If we want to be a growing church, a church that is relevant, a church that is attractive to the lost, then we have got to be a generously welcoming and hospitable community of disciples!
- Consider how generous the elderly woman in the first reading was!
- How much trouble she went to, to make the prophet Elisha welcome and at home!
- Jesus too, celebrates generosity and hospitality in the Gospel;
- he offers a reward for a cup of cold water when it is given to the hot and weary disciple who is hard at work spreading the Good News!
- Generosity and hospitality are essential for the spread of the Gospel!
- The task of handing on the faith demands both material resources and selfless people – as it always has and as it always will!
- If there is no generosity, no invitation, no welcome then it will receive little hearing!
- The lost, the stranger, might be shallow and unsure in their faith!
- They will not appreciate our procedures and practices
- They might not contribute to our community
- But at some level, these people are seeking God!
- And if we don’t help them find him, not only are they lost but we are too!