Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to look around you and be honest with yourself. It is easy to welcome somebody with open heart without asking ourselves about the intention of the person who visits us? Unfortunately we live in a suspicious society. It is so hard to trust others. For Jesus there is no excuse to not trust his disciples. For Jesus there is no other way to receive him: only through his disciples.
Joel Rosenberg ends his novel, Dead Heat, with these words: “We discovered just how much God loves us and what an amazing plan and purpose he has for our lives and we would love nothing more than for you to discover the God who loves you, too…” It is a fragment from the letter of the richest couple in the world imagined by Joel. This couple didn’t care too much about those who worked for them but, once they discovered Jesus, they wanted to share with all those people the news and to start a new life together – sharing God’s love. They were afraid that their message won’t be received but with all the risks of being refused they wanted to start a new relationship.
In today’s gospel, Jesus sends in the world those who discover him. These are his disciples. They discovered Jesus’ message of love and want to share it with the others, with us. The disciples, two thousands years ago, before meeting Christ were sinners, but once they met him they start to change in love for their neighbours following his example. Today it is the same: the disciples of Jesus were sinners who discovered Jesus and his love and they want to share this love. If we find ourselves blocked in judging them considering the sins of the past, we lose the message they discovered and want to share. They come with Jesus’
message and in his name.
Now it makes sense what Jesus says: “Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me” (Matthew 10:40a). More than that: Jesus makes a very strong affirmation: welcoming a disciple we welcome God in our life. Here is one of the clearest affirmations of Jesus and the whole Bible that receiving others it means receiving God and refusing others means refusing God. So, we can understand what it means to refuse somebody as a disciple of Jesus, who comes with his message in his presences.
Jesus continues: “And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42). The value of the gift is not according to its cost, but according to the love and affection of the giver. Now it is easier to be understood. We know that God loves every single person and we are invited to do the same, especially in need. But in the text of today’s gospel Jesus emphasizes: giving a cup of water to somebody in the name of a disciple means a great reward. Why?
Lets think simply. Would you accept that in giving a cup of water to someone we crate a possibility to relate to or build a relationship with that person? Maybe we discover their name or that person story. Doing that to someone as Jesus’ disciple we could discover his story with Jesus, we could discover Jesus working in others live; we could meet Jesus through the person who has a message about Jesus in their life. In consequence we gain what a disciple could give us. We could become disciples, witnesses of Jesus, of his love. This is the reward: changing us, opening us to others. It is a reward for all disciples.
Bearing in mind Jesus’ words to the disciples to encourage them in their mission let us pray for all those sent to speak of God’s love in these difficult days and for those who need their message to open their heart and mind to understand that God never gives up on us.
(Cornelia Noghiu – Southend on Sea, 23rd June 2020)