June 28, 2020 The Thirteenth Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle A)
The tie in between today’s readings: Alive to God
In Psalm 89, our reading for today, God promises King David that his kingdom will enjoy abundant blessings and last until the end of time. Years later, due to the disobedience of David’s heirs, The Lord destroys the kingdom and sends the nation into exile in Babylon. When you read the whole text, you’ll discover the psalmist struggles with the apparent contradiction that the Almighty God of Truth would be incapable or unwilling to keep His word. In hindsight, we see that this is another Messianic Psalm with elements of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in view. He is a descendant of David and heir to the eternal throne. In Him, all the promises not only in this Psalm, but of the entire Old Testament are fulfilled. Our Father always makes good on His word no matter the cost, even the death of His Son on a cross. He will be no man’s debtor. The Lord has not limited His vows to the Jewish nation alone. We can also be part of the promises and blessings that God made to David as we become citizens of His kingdom by grace through Jesus.
Our reading in Romans 6:3-6 starts off by hitting the highlights of the salvation process. It marks the progression from the beginning of faith with the crucifixion of our old selves with Christ, and through baptism where we are buried and raised to a new life (born again) in Him. This new life gives us the power to overcome our old sin nature that tenaciously clings to us. Paul tells us to reboot our programming. With our new life in Jesus, who conquered sin and death, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Sounds great…but how do we actually make that work in our lives?
A new life in Christ means that Christ is our new life. In today’s gospel, Matthew 10:37-39 opens with a reorientation of perspectives. Our love for parents, children, and even ourselves must be subordinate to our love for Jesus. When we lose our lives in Christ we get much more back in virtuous living and blessed relationships as we pass our thoughts and actions through our WWJD (What would Jesus do?) filter. He always makes the best choices. Matthew 10:40-42 shows us new priorities. Our life mission: promote the gospel. We play our parts in the Church’s ministries, we support missionaries, and participate in corporal works of mercy in the name of Jesus. We are now witnessing for Christ in the world and the Lord has given us our secular jobs in order to pay the expenses. Our Father promises to reward us, in this life and the next, as we perform these duties for the gospel’s sake. God will be no man’s debtor. Our reading in 2 Kings 4:8-16 gives us an example of how it has worked in the past.
As you read the passage for yourself, you can see some principles of Godly service in the narrative. First, she observed to serve. Our Shunamite lady looked for opportunities to use what God had given her to help others. It started off as simply as taking Elisha the prophet to lunch. Then, as their relationship grew, the second phase took over as she felt a leading from God to a deeper commitment to Elisha’s ministries. She built a furnished room for him and his servant to stay whenever they passed through the area. There were no strings attached, no quid pro quo, no leverage of their relationship to gain an advantage. She gave freely and was happy in giving. In return, the Lord blessed her with a gift far beyond her wildest dream. God will be no man’s debtor. Though, one thing to remember is that God will bless us as He sees fit. We can’t always get what we want. That’s a good thing, considering some of our past choices. God blesses us for a purpose: to mold us into the image of His Son, who is the object of our love. That’s not a bad thing, either. So along with our desires expect some “hard blessings” as God knocks things out of our lives that get in the way.
Mark 10:29-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life”
While not everybody can be in religious vocations, we all can have a stake in the gospel message. It begins with our trusting in Jesus. In Him we can begin our new life with a higher purpose. Blessings and rewards will follow as our Father has promised and as He sees fit to give. Guaranteed. God will be no man’s debtor. Christ beckons to all of us with open arms. He asks us to trust Him for our salvation, love Him above all others, and make Him Lord of our lives. It’s only fitting. After all, He loves us and gave His life to cancel a debt that we could never repay.