REFLECTION | ‘Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me’

July 2, 2017 - 8:19 AM
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Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes him who sent me. The one who welcomes a prophet, as a prophet will receive the reward of a prophet; the one who welcomes a just man, because he is a just man will receive the reward of a just man. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is my disciple I assure you, he will not go unrewarded.”
—Matthew 10:37-42

God is love and love is God. God loves us first; we have been loved by God all along. He is the source of all love and should be first and foremost in everything we do. Because we love God, we are able to love our parents, our children, our neighbors.

It is that love for God that made us capable of loving others. Loving him is concretely expressed in our following him. When we take up our cross with Christ, then we can easily survive our trials. When we take up our cross and follow Jesus, he will be with us. People think that when we follow the Lord, then the crosses of life will vanish. And every time we experience suffering and pain, we ask God too many questions and explanations.

Life is not always fine and easy. The hardships and difficulties may be our cross of love, our cross of hope. Finding one’s self in the Lord is our aim. The tendency of people who are self-centered and selfish is that they only think of their welfare and forget others. They tend to be concerned with their lives, their security and disposition, and by doing so miss and lose the meaning of life.

We ask God why he allows bad and evil things to happen. Our situations of sadness and pain affect us immensely and the people around us. We turn to God for refuge, we go to him for relief and security. It is very important for us to know God and see God as our savior and hope.

The Lord Jesus sent his disciples those whom he can trust with the assurance that whoever welcomes them, welcomes Jesus himself; and whoever welcomes Jesus, welcomes the Father who sent him. The disciples were not afraid after Jesus assured them that he will always be with them.

Jesus further assured his disciples that “the one who welcomes a prophet, as a prophet will receive the reward of a prophet; the one who welcomes a just man, because he is a just man will receive the reward of a just man. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is my disciple I assure you, he will not go unrewarded.”

The gospel reading is not just a reminder to Jesus’ disciples but more as a reminder and an invitation to all Christians today. The Christians of today who are the followers of the way, the truth and the life. When we follow the Lord Jesus, we must be willing to submit ourselves to the Lord and dedicate ourselves to him and in him alone.

To follow the Lord means we shall listen and accept his very words to his disciples wholeheartedly: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Let us lose our lives in our Lord Jesus Christ and to “no other man- made created gods” of today’s world. Let us lose ourselves in the Lord in His saving love so we can carry our own cross and follow him in faithfully and joyfully.

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Do I love the Lord more than myself and others?

How do I express my love to my God?

Do I live out my prophetic vocation and task in the midst of tyranny, violence, and wars?
Have I sincerely and joyfully welcomed the Lord in my life and in my family?

Do I fully trust the Lord at all times? Do I love the Lord at all times?

Prayer
Almighty and Ever-living God, we put and entrust our very lives into your heart. We rest in your bosom and may we also welcome those who are searching and looking for you. We thank you for your love and mercy to us is without end. We find our rest in you and in you alone. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention
Let us pray for those people whom we have promised to pray for, especially our brothers and sisters in Marawi and other places where there are wars and violence. We pray also for those who are weary and find life burdensome; those who are restless and suffering in whatever form that God may touch their hearts so they can find God’s saving grace and consoling peace be their redemption.