13A. 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a. A woman of Shunem, who was a person of influence, was accustomed to offering hospitality to Elisha, the prophet, keeping open a small furnished room so that he would have a place to stay overnight whenever he passed through. Elisha, asking his servant if anything could be done for her in turn, was told that she had no son. Elisha calls her to say to her, “This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.” Our Gospel this Sunday says, “Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.” The Church has given us an example of this from the Old Testament.
Matthew 10: 37-42. From this world’s perspective and the perspective of each living being, one’s survival on this earth is of absolute, prime importance. Expanding from that and from one’s innate, natural bent, it is consummately natural to want to experience the maximum amount of good feelings and pleasure and the minimal amount of pain or bad feelings. In a totally different vein, this Gospel begins with Jesus saying to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” He goes on to say, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (also Mt. 17: 24-25) Luke’s version (14:26) uses even stronger language: “If anyone comes after me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus is saying that we must commit ourselves totally to God and to nothing else other than what comes out of our commitment to God and his Will and not to our own natural desires and will. In Mt. 22:37, Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” Jesus goes on changing the Second of the Two Great Commandments, saying, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn. 13:34). God is the measure of all things. In Mt. 5:48, Jesus says, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” in other words, to the capacity that God has given you, be holy as God is holy. We are to be people whose guiding principle is of the heavenly spirit and not to be people of the worldly flesh.
In this Gospel Jesus says, “Whoever receives you receives me and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” The principle stated here, I believe, is that as God the Father works in union with the Son and so the Son works in union with each one of us who belong to him. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus in John 15:4a said, “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” Also Jesus said in John 14:23b, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Receiving one who has the presence of God within him, a prophet, a righteous man, a disciple receives the God who is within him and a reward that is equal to God’s work within each. Jesus says in John 13:20, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11. Paul writes, “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” The life within us is far more than the bodily life that earthly animals have but Christ himself sharing his divine life with us. As a true follower of Jesus it is never I alone every once in a while appealing to the lord as I see fit, but the Christ, who is my Lord and Master, always living within me. Paul continues, “As to his death, Jesus died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Jesus Christ.” We are a new person with him and in him in us.