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Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16; Romans 6:3-4, 8-11; Matthew 10:37-42

Saint John Baptist de la Salle July 2, 2023

The Gospel for today calls us to love God before all others. Once again, an easy thing to ask, a much harder thing to do. We learn at an early age to love our parents, family members, and friends, and then we learn to love our God. However, loving God only comes to us after we have fallen in love with others. Once we realize we are in love with God, or others, we begin to do things to show our love.

In 2 Kings, a “woman of influence” provided food and water to Elisha because he was a prophet, and his words, his ministry, meant something to her. She had recognized that God had blessed her through him. How do we react, if and when we recognize God’s blessings in our life? In other words: “Who needs our cup of cold water?” Perhaps we could prepare a list: Our spouse, children, parents, friends, lovers, neighbors? Once we have been able to identify them, there are additional questions. Do they know it, and how do we show it? Are they aware that we recognized that God blesses us through them? Is our love for them as clear and convincing as a cup of cold water?

When we love others, it should be evident in the time we seek to spend with them, in the kindness we show to them, in the sacrifices we are willing to make for them. Most of all, our love for others should be seen in our desire for them to prosper in this life and in the life to come. Sometimes we might presume that the care and concern we have for others is evident. We never miss an anniversary or birthday; we work hard to provide for the needs of others. Good enough, but we must always remember that the people in our life were given to us by God, that we might bring them home, with us, to God.

Our care and concern for others cannot only be a concern for us today. Love always looks ahead, all the way to heaven, in carrying out its command. Care for those who are a blessing for us is more than just a request by Jesus.

We have a moral duty to welcome, clothe, feed, and respect our brothers and sisters, no matter who they are, or how they became a part of our life. Our Christian belief that all people, especially immigrants, the poor, the homeless, must be met with compassion and care, has deep roots in Scripture. It is part of the same belief that requires us to protect the unborn. We cannot offer a Christ-like witness to the sanctity of life if we fail to respect life in the womb and the human dignity of all other people in need.

Who is Jesus, but the Father’s way of showing care and concern for us all? Showing our love for others is our way of imitating the very person and mission of Jesus. Who needs our cup of cold water? Jesus says, to whomever or wherever our cup of water is given, it will not go without reward. In this life, caring for our loved ones should be its own reward. However, how we care for them here and now determines the reward the next life will bring for them and for us. It all begins with a cup of cold water!

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