Call To Mission And Support Of Missionaries

St. Patrick is popularly known with the slogan; ‘ýou can become a missionary either by going to mission or supporting missionaries’. This is obvious in today’s readings. The first reading shows a perfect blending of a missionary and a supporter to mission work. The woman of Shunem was of great support to Elijah in his mission work. While Elijah did the work, the woman supported the work. Hence the Gospel complements this thus, ‘you have had a prophet’s reward’.
The readings today challenge us on how we support our spiritual leaders. The various kinds of approach to this support are manifest in today’s readings. The first reading from 2Kgs. 4.8-11 shows the caring attitude of the Shunemite woman and the corresponding support by her family members especially her husband. In spite of her wealth, the husband had the right to deter her from building a house of rest for Elijah but rather gave her the needed support. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to respect our spiritual leaders and advice them with fraternal love when they are err. Unfortunately, some persons glory in gossip, calumny e.t.c. against their spiritual leaders and other forms of ungodly behaviour against their spiritual leaders.
Today’s Gospel also highlights for us the importance of hospitality in the Christian life. To welcome another in Jesus’ name is to extend hospitality to Jesus himself. We have many opportunities in our daily life to reach out to others, to be a welcoming presence and a sign of God’s love. In this passage, Jesus summarizes both the costs of discipleship and its rewards. Once again our understanding of the Gospel is strengthened by considering the context in which it was written and the perspective of Matthew’s audience.
The conditions of discipleship outlined in Matthew’s Gospel may appear harsh. Yet they underline for us a truth—choosing anything with one’s whole heart has consequences. Choosing life with Christ means that every relationship we have must be understood from a new perspective. For many in Matthew’s community, this choice brought division to their family.
Matthew also outlines the reward of hospitality offered to Jesus’ followers. In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the difficulties of discipleship, yet reveals that those who welcome the disciples have also welcomed him.
Our Lord shows us the way to eternal salvation. He tells his apostles “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.” (Matthew 10:37-39)
It sounds contradictory, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” but these are the conditions of discipleship. A man called to the priesthood offers himself completely to God’s Church, just as a husband in marriage gives himself completely, holding nothing back from his wife. A consecrated woman gives herself in total devotion as a bride of Christ, just as a wife gives herself unreservedly in matrimony to her husband. All of these examples are renunciations of the self to love in imitation of Christ.
Let us in this new week; consecrate ourselves to the work of mission either by going or by supporting mission in the imitation of Christ.
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