13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a | Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 | Matthew 10:37-42
Today’s first reading speaks of hospitality, generosity, kindness, gratitude, reciprocity and how each person contributed to the other; a contagion of blessings. It is a beautiful expression of the human capacity to bless and to heal each other. We can be amazing!
In contrast, is the toxic emotional contagion that is plaguing our country. Initially political differences lit the fire, but the flames of polarization have spread frighteningly fast, entering our social, familial, spiritual, and work environments. How do we stop this toxic spread of divisiveness, hatred, contempt, and mistrust? I have thought a lot about this and what I/we can do to reverse this trend. I came up empty. Then, this reading crossed my path and restored my hope.
In today’s second reading Paul speaks about the gifts of baptism and resurrection. That is, dying to sin and rising to newness of life in Jesus. Again, offering the reader hope. Paul also reminds us that we must live now into that newness of life.
Finally, Matthew's Gospel is clear and firm. Jesus does not mince his words. He urges us that God must come before all else. Jesus also invites us to take up our cross. I've always had trouble with this concept of carrying one's cross because of its linkage to suffering. I believe that suffering is not a virtue; it's an unfortunate byproduct of life. So, I never romanticize suffering as the ultimate offering. However, the cross can be thought of in a more positive light, as any situation or condition that challenges us to be better or do better.
So, at this time, in our nation and in our daily lives, we are being challenged to pick up our cross, to face and reverse the direction of divisiveness by remembering we have the capacity to bless and heal each other. We do not have to contribute to the hatred, contempt and mistrust. We can drown out these flames of unrest with our own contagion of blessings, living into the newness of life and healing and blessing one another as we go.
Peggy Roach, Dominican Associate