The 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 2, 2023
Lectionary Readings: 2 Kings 4:8-11.14-16; Ps. 88:2-3.16-19; Rom. 6:3-4.8-11; Matt. 10:37-42
Theme: Embracing Sacrifice, Hospitality, and Discipleship.
In this reflection, we delve into the interconnected themes of sacrifice, hospitality, and discipleship inspired by today’s scripture readings. Additionally, we explore certain elements of Jewish spirituality that enrich the nuances of these readings.
The psalm portrays deep lamentations over the profound suffering being endured, leaving the psalmist filled with inconsolable grief and unresolved anguish. It serves as a metaphor for the cross that Jesus’ followers must bear and the spirit of sacrifice inherent in following Him. It seems to comment on the initial verses of the Gospel reading, highlighting the intensity of the demands involved in following Jesus.
There is a resonance with the Jewish principle of “accepting the yoke of heaven” in the sacrificial spirit that Jesus requires from His followers in their pursuit of following the Torah and nurturing their relationship with God. By embracing this yoke willingly, we wholeheartedly devote our energies to God and embrace the sacrificial aspects of discipleship. Through surrendering our own will and desires, we discover true fulfillment in God. Essentially, our will aligns with God’s will, merging our inner selves with divine purpose.
The latter part of the Gospel offers assurance of respite through the hospitality experienced within the community. The reading in 2Kings highlights the exemplary actions of the Shunamite woman towards Elisha. In Jewish tradition, welcoming guests is regarded as a mitzvah. Abraham and Sarah are renowned for their exceptional hospitality, exceeding the expected standards when they graciously hosted three strangers. Even in the desert, one can find hospitality.
The ability to endure the sacrifices required is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus, as expounded by St. Paul in Romans. The path Jesus demands His followers to walk leads to wholeness. It is not an easy path, as there may be numerous obstacles along the way. Our families might object to our choices and actions, and our community or society might oppose our stance on certain justice issues. Therefore, today’s readings urge us to prioritize our relationship with God, the most essential aspect, lest we succumb to the pressures we face.
|For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What hindrances or challenges have you encountered on your path towards wholeness? 2. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? 3. How do you manage to be faithful to your call to be a disciple of Jesus?|
Bibliography: Morrow, https://thelehrhaus.com/scholarship/god-torah-self-accepting-the-yoke-of-heaven-in-the-writings-of-rav-shagar/ (Lehrhaus, 2017).
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Sr. Petite Lao, RNDM, Philippines, Bat Kol Alumna 2010, 2014, 2019