The 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 June 2023.
Lectionary Readings: Ex. 19:2-6; Ps. 100:2-3.5; Rom. 5:6-11; Matt. 9:36 -10:8.
Theme: We are the voice of Christ
This Sunday, the readings we are going to reflect upon, remind us of God’s constant presence in the world and the will that He has to offer men and women their salvation. The first reading from the book of Exodus is part of the “traditions about the covenant of Sinai” – a set of traditions of different origins, the common denominator of which is the reflection on a commitment (“berit” – “covenant”) that Israel would have assumed with the LORD. In the text we see that the initiator of the covenant is God. It is God who summons Moses to the mountain and through him proposes an alliance with the house of Jacob. The “alliance” is a sign of belonging to God: it is not a privilege, but a service that takes the form of a prophetic mission that is to be a sign of God in the world, a light to the nations.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, reminds us that sin is a universal reality, but that God with his infinite goodness “justifies” and saves us. And this salvation is offered by God to men and women through Jesus Christ; for man, it remains to adhere to this proposal of salvation, in faith. For Paul, the story of salvation is a love story. Man, relying only on his strength, would not be able to overcome slavery, selfishness, and sin alone. God then sends his Son Jesus Christ into the world, who offers his whole life so that human beings would realize that selfishness generates death and suffering, and that only love generates happiness and endless life. That’s why being a Christian is discovering that God loves us and through that love we can face daily difficulties with the serenity, joy and hope that spring from this fundamental certainty.
In the gospel, Matthew shows the sending of disciples on mission. Scholars of the Gospel according to Matthew usually call the text that goes from 9.36 to 11.1 the “mission speech”: in it, Jesus sends the disciples, and defines the mission of these disciples: to announce the arrival of the “Kingdom”.
How do we announce the Kingdom of God? By fighting against everything that enslaves us and prevents us from being happy. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a prophet who denounces the injustices of the world. Jesus’ liberating proposal must be present (through the disciples) wherever there is a brother or sister who is a victim of slavery and injustice. Is this what we’ve been doing?
May this 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time be the voice of Christ in our homes, work, and society, but let us remember that the voice that screams is not a voice that judges, but a voice that frees and loves.
For Reflection and Discussion: God’s love is universal. It does not marginalize or discriminate against anyone. It does not distinguish between friends and enemies. It does not irremediably condemn those who have failed or distanced themselves from the fellowship of God. Are we, disciples of Jesus, witnesses to this love? How do we treat and welcome those who disagree with us, who assume problematic attitudes, who fail in their marriage, who behave socially or religiously incorrect?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, NDS. Israel, ISPS Ratisbonne Contributor.