OMELIE / Omelie EN

02/07/2017 -  Sunday 13th O.T. – A

02/07/2017 -  Sunday 13th O.T. – A

Ist reading 2 Kings 4, 8-11. 14-16; from Psalm dal 8; 2 reading  Rom 6, 3-4. 8-11;  Gospel Mt 10, 37-42  

The story told in the Second Book of the Kings is really beautiful: it is divine providence the generous hospitality that the distinguished woman of Shunem offers to the prophet Elisha, in accord with her husband. And it is also beautiful to see how Elisha, the great prophet, asks with great humility to his servant for advice on how to recognize and reward the benefit he received. Lastly, it is beautiful to hear the prophet’s servant suggesting a great thing, that man is not able to achieve. As a matter of fact, only God could send a child to that woman, to her that has never had one, and above all having a husband already old. In this way then, we can see God at work through the generosity, the obedience, the faith and the prayer of His faithful.

For sure Jesus had this event in mind, and from it he also took a leaf out of its book to provide the suggestions and exhortations that he presented us with in the talks addressed to His disciples. “If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward”: just like the woman of Shunem, who, benefitting the prophet, received from God as a compensation an unexpected miracle. But men can be way more generous than somebody who offers a glass of water to a disciple of Jesus’. There is also someone who “welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet”: God will reward them like if they themselves were faithful prophets! The same for whoever “welcomes an upright person because he is upright”! We have ample opportunity to make God to be in our debt! To say something like this could seem too much to dare, but it is matching Jesus’ promises. Our eyes must be kept open in order to recognize the upright people and the prophets, as well as our Lord’s little disciples; our heart must always be ready to fulfil God’s will and to help whoever is fulfilling it. The revelation that is given to us today reaches its acme when Jesus tells us that “anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me”. To welcome God directly, the Father, is possible: just welcome whom He sent! But, someone may say, how can we do this if we cannot see Jesus any more, now that He ascended into Heaven? Blessed those who have met Him along the way, like Zacchaeus or Martha and Maria, but what about us? We can welcome Jesus and God the Father that has sent Him as well: but how? “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me”! Jesus is telling precisely this to His apostles. Just welcome any of those who our Lord has sent and you will realize that you actually received the blessing and the peace and all the gifts you can receive from the presence of God within you and in your house.

Nevertheless, Jesus introduced his talk with quite shocking affirmations. The love for Him is an exclusive one, so it rules out anybody else. This is affirmation of His surprises us, or even frightens us. I cannot say that I love Jesus if I prefer to listen to somebody else. “No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me”: to be worthy of the Son of God it is necessary to prefer Him over anybody else, even over the most sacred relationships. After all this is the most true and deepest way to love the people we love, to give them a heart, our heart, all filled with the Holy Spirit, all devoted to the God of life and peace! As a matter of fact, to love does not mean to please, but to enrich the person you love with all the treasures of a new heart filled with holy fear of God. It is because of this, to be filled with Holy Spirit and of all His fruits, that we love Jesus over anything and everybody else. In this way, even our love for parents and our children becomes perfect, true love.

Saint Paul brings us back to the baptism: that is the moment that has consecrated our union with Jesus Christ. We have been united to Him when we accepted the death of our old self, our selfish life all turned towards ourselves, to give way to the “new life” that is the life of the risen. “You must see yourselves as being dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus”. “Being dead to sin” means that we are not part of the incredulity of the world any more, source of all the selfishness. “Alive for God in Christ Jesus” is about sharing God’s love, that love that can offer a glass of water, welcome the prophet and help the upright, thanks to the unity with the Son of God. The life of the Church is the love of all the baptized ones who, thanks to their unity with Jesus Christ, all together implement those works of mercy and affection, of goodness and justice of our Father who is in Heaven. To be able to truly love every person and all men with the strength and the grace of God’s love and to set up in this way the Kingdom of Heaven, for these very reasons we give all our heart to Jesus.