Today's reading concludes Matthew's account of Jesus' second discourse, the great missionary discourse in which Jesus instructs his twelve disciples. Both the cost and the reward of the commitment required of a disciple are noted. No one and nothing must be more important than commitment to Jesus.
The unity of the family of Jesus is more important than the unity of the natural family. Even the shameful death of the cross is not too high a price to pay if one is to be a true disciple. However there is a positive side to discipleship. Those who receive Jesus receive the one who sent Him.
So, too, those who help the "little ones" who are the messengers of Jesus are receiving Jesus. The final words of this selection are addressed to the crowd, a device Matthew uses to put the reader of the gospel into the crowd listening to Jesus.
|Fr. Greeley's Last Book:|
Once upon a time there was a kind of worthless teenage boy. I mean he never did much wrong, but he never did much right either. He got the kind of grades which would just barely get him into college. He helped out around the house only when he had to. He loafed on his job, doing only enough so that he wouldn't get fired. He was a good athlete, but he never went out for any of the teams. He avoided all school projects. Everyone said he was lazy. He didn't deny that he was. He defended himself by saying that life was boring. He spent all his time reading adventure stories and romances which weren't boring. The priest in his parish said that he was one of the best young men of the XIII century. He told the priest that he wished he had a time machine so he could so back to that century and serenade lovely damsels on their balconies at night.
WELL, one spring he announced he was going to South America for the summer as a volunteer to work with the poor people up in the mountains. What good will you do for them, his mother said. It's a waste of time his father said, you should be home earning money for your college tuition. It's really BORING work said his teachers. It's not medieval Seville, said the priest. Everyone told him not to go. His parents practically forbid him to go and refused to pay for his plane fare. He took all the money from presents out of his account and went anyway.
Well, the people in the mountain village where he worked loved him, especially because as they said they never knew anyone who worked so hard. The priests reported back to his parish priest that this kid was one of the finest human beings they had ever known. He returned home his eyes glowing with excitement. He didn't care what anyone said. He would return next summer.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
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