Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

ovalchrist.jpg

 

Matthew 10: 37-42

“Anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it”

Jesus speaks some surprising words today: “anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me.” Or anyone who prefers son or daughter to me, or who does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me. What is he asking of us? That we should turn our back on the very people who are naturally closest to us? Or that we should spend our lives looking for some form of suffering, for a cross to bear, so that we can be close to Jesus? Surely not! What then is he asking of us?

Perhaps we need to remember his commands – to love God with all your might, and to love neighbour as yourself. He is pointing here to the implication of that second commandment. When Jesus says “anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it” he is reminding us that the demands of God’s reign in our lives – such as love of neighbour, concern for truth, justice and peace, exercise of compassion and reconciliation – these cannot simply be put aside out of self-interest or even for the apparent benefit of those who are close to us. Such behaviour would constitute the false “finding of life” that Jesus rejects, a sort of attitude that says “me and mine at any cost, and blow everyone and everything else”.

Jesus clearly loved his mother; he also cherished the friendship of a close circle of men and women. He does not ask us to love our own family or friends any the less for love of him. But he does introduce us into a wider vision of family that embraces all the people that on earth do dwell.