Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
OUR FIRST PRIORITY
Gospel: Mt 10: 34 – 11: 1
Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. “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 righteous 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 he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
OUR FIRST PRIORITY: The purpose of God has always been to do His will on earth as it is in heaven by expanding His Kingdom and that is why even after the death of Joseph He continues to multiply the children of Israel amidst suffering. In the Gospel Jesus sets priorities concerning his mission. Here, he not only forewarns His disciples about the collateral effect of his word even in families but also insists that to follow him implies loving him more than any other, and loving Him till the cross. He invites us to a whole-hearted dedication to His cause. As Christians, Jesus calls us to be witness of His Kingdom here on earth. This will be achieved not by hating our other priorities but by loving them less and making His agenda our priority.
PRAYER: We pray for the grace never to forget or abandon our call to be witnesses to the Gospel and to do so as a first priority.
JUSTICE BEFORE SACRIFICE: God does not relish fat offerings and the smell of the incense but rather desires purity of heart and justice to the poor. God says through Isaiah, “Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.” First justice, then prayers and sacrifice. Jesus brings peace, yet those set in worldly and selfish ways disregard it and fight the gospel attempting to destroy the Church. Thus Jesus says he came to bring not peace but the sword! Let us remember that it is not the disciples who took up the swords; they are rather the target of attack. Will Jesus find us worthy of him at the face of persecutions? Jesus is very concerned about the sufferings that the disciples will have to undergo that he promises rich rewards for those who protect and do any favour to the disciples, even as little as offering a cup of water.
Prayer: Lord we pray that the leaders of the nations may strive for justice to the poor.