13th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year A

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Pulpit Plan

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:
    • Worship
    • Fellowship
    • Discipleship
    • Ministry, and
    • Evangelization
  • 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!
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