Friday, 26 June 2020 16:10

A 'new normal' for disciples of Jesus

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202013OTAWeb374AToday’s Gospel is the final in this section of Matthew’s Gospel about the spread of the Kingdom and the role of the disciples.

Matthew often uses events as a beginning point for Jesus’ sermons. The section we have been listening to began with the call of Matthew and was followed by the instructions given to the disciples before setting out on mission. We heard part of that last Sunday.

So far in this sermon we have heard Jesus teach that the truly virtuous are those who exercise mercy; disciples are to proclaim the Kingdom of God with works of compassion and mercy; they are not to let fear compromise the message, but are to trust always in God.

Today’s Gospel passage highlights both the cost and rewards of true discipleship. The disciples’ relationship with Jesus must be the centre of their lives and the context for all other relationships.

Hospitality and welcome are concrete expressions of discipleship because the disciple is one who witnesses to the compassion and mercy of God with open hearts and concrete good actions.

Even though the first paragraph of today’s Gospel sounds like an exclusive choice must be made between Jesus and family, the idea behind the text is more that: in our relationship with Jesus, all other relationships fall into their proper context. Without being in right relationship with Jesus we can’t learn how to be in right relationship with others. It is our relationship with Jesus which brings depth and richness to all our other relationships. So, for example, our family relationships become more than just fulfilling a social custom. They become true relationships filled with love, mercy, forgiveness and respect.

The Pharisees and Scribes seldom made good disciples because they thought that religion was about doing religious things. They went to the synagogue, kept the Law, fasted, and so on, but their hearts were never changed by their religious observance. They were self-righteous, despised the poor and the ‘sinners’, and acted without justice or mercy.

The truth about our conversion to Jesus (our becoming Jesus) is not so much seen in easily identifiably ‘religious’ things but in concrete good actions and right relationships.

Our religious observance is meant to support and nourish our relationship with Jesus. It is not a substitute for it. That relationship has the power to change and transform us so that we can bear witness to Christ through lives of mercy, compassion, justice and integrity.

Join us in celebrating at home this Sunday using the links below.

Celebrating At Home for 13 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF    
Celebrating At Home for 13 Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone & iPad

Lectio Divina for 13 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF    
Lectio Divina for 13 Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone & iPad

 

 

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