June 28, 2020
Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father, calls us to lose our lives for Him in order to find his meaning in Him, which is true Life.
Reading the second book of Kings 4, 8-11. 14-16a
Elisha passed one day through Sunén. There lived a lead woman who insisted that he stay to eat; and, ever since, he stopped there to eat every time he passed.
She said to her husband:
“I am sure that it is a holy man of God who always comes to see us. Let’s build a small room on the terrace and put a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp upstairs, so that when he comes he can retire.”
The day came when Elisha approached over there and retreated to the upstairs room, where he lay down.
Then Elisha wondered:
“What can we do for her?”
Guejazí replied, his servant:
“Unfortunately she has no children and her husband is old.”
Elisha ordered me to call her. He called her and she stopped at the entrance.
“Next year, by this time, you’ll be hugging a child.”
Exit 88, 2-3. 16-17. 18-19
R/. I will sing eternally the mercies of the Lord.
I will sing eternally the mercies of the Lord,
I will announce your loyalty for all ages.
Because you said, “Mercy is an eternal building,”
more than heaven you have strengthened your faithfulness. R/.
Blessed is the people who know how to cheer you down:
He shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy face;
your name is his joy every day,
your justice is his pride. R/.
Because you are his honor and his strength,
and with your favor you enhance our power.
Because the Lord is our shield,
and the Holy One of Israel our king. R/.
Reading the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans 6, 3-4. 8-11
All of us who were baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized in his death.
By baptism we were buried with him in death, so that, just as Christ rose from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new life.
If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; for we know that Christ, once risen from the dead, no longer dies; death no longer has dominion over it. For whoever is dead has died to sin once and for all; and whoever lives, lives for God.
The same is true of you, consider yourselves dead to sin and alive for God in Christ Jesus.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 10, 37-42
At that time, Jesus said to his apostles:
“He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; He who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not carry his cross and follows me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for me will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who has sent me; He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will be rewarded as a prophet; and he who receives a righteous because he is righteous will have a reward of just.
Whoever gives drinking, even if it is nothing more than a glass of fresh water, to one of these little ones, just because he is my disciple, I really tell them that he will not lose his reward.”
The first reading introduces us to the prophet Elisha, a holy man of God, announcing to a woman her future motherhood as a reward for her generosity to him. Fertility in the Old Testament is a sign of God’s blessing. God never lets himself be won in generosity. But that blessing of God goes through the action of the prophet. “What can we do for her?” elisha asks his servant. We too can wonder what we can do for others, aware that God is using us and our generosity so that others may feel their closeness, their generosity and blessing, their fatherly love.
Aware of God’s longness and generosity to us, today’s Psalm invites us to proclaim his mercy and faithfulness forever, incessantly. Whoever feels blessed by God blesses the Lord and invites those around him to praise and thanksgiving.
In the second reading, St Paul explains to us the meaning of baptism as a death to sin and a living for God in Christ Jesus. The Paschal Mystery of Christ, his death and his resurrection are updated in each of us by the sacrament that identifies us with Him. Our lives as baptized must therefore be a constant struggle against sin and a continuous reaffirmation in our identity with Christ. In Christ’s victory over sin and death lies also the hope of our victory. Without being shocked by our sins, we can see in each of them a new opportunity to welcome the Father’s mercy, to grow in humility, to resurrect a new life. Baptism is the door of faith, not a goal; it’s non-final start.
In the Gospel we see how Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. And today he makes an entirely radical proposal that we cannot sweeten or relativize if we do not want to lose the essence of his Gospel: whoever wants to be his disciple in a dignified way must put Him first, before any other love, even the noblest and most justified. He has to be put before everything and everyone. It does not support softening interpretations.
This means that perhaps being a Christian in the style of Jesus, not ours, is not for everyone. Losing your life is losing your life… to win it, says Jesus. But it implies a radical choice for Him that evidently does not exclude other loves but does relocate them, redirects them from Himself. Losing our lives means fundamentally decentralizing ourselves, definitely breaking with the ego that constantly calls us to revolve around it, stop being selfish, self-centered or egomaniac. Losing our lives is not alienating ourselves from the world and the reality that surrounds us, but to resitute ourselves in it from the deep, from the divine, from above, from the authentic.
Losing the life of Jesus clashes head-on with the worldly mindset of asserting himself, making himself known, climbing, stepping next door to continue climbing, to be considered, vituperated, taken into account. Losing your life is quite the opposite, forgetting yourself to the last, your projects and illusions so that it is only He who guides our steps. To lose his life is to identify with Jesus, who, being rich, became poor for us, who as God became man and stripped himself of his rank by passing through one of many. To lose your life is to die… and then resurrect with Him, as new men and women, free from all that comes not from Him and is not for Him.
Jesus also invites us to understand his proposal from the simplicity and simplicity of the humble gesture for others. Giving life for Christ and for others is done in daily dedication, in simple and well done work, in silent commitment to someone or something that almost no one knows or knows, in the glass of water given with love.
Lord, teach me to be generous, to give without calculating,
to return well for evil, to serve without expecting reward,
to approach the one I least like,
to do good to which nothing can give back to me,
to always love for free,
to work without worrying about rest.
And having nothing else to give,
to donate to me in everything and more and more to the one who needs me, expecting only from you the reward.
Or better: hoping you’ll be my reward yourself. Amen
(Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga)