Promote and Support – Monday, 15th Week in ordinary time – Matthew 10:34-11:1
We come to the end of the second of five discourses found in the Gospel of Matthew. The mission discourse ends with no apology. It is not a diplomatic speech that has carefully tip toed safely past a minefield of difficult issues. Rather, the mission discourse has been more like a bull taken on by its horns; the elephant in the room addressed.
The mission discourse makes it abundantly clear that the Christian will always be to the world, a point of derision, an object of scorn. This is not merely from those who sit outside our green pastures but also include some ‘goats’ who mock the sheep within.
Making a choice for Christ clearly sets you on a collision course with the rest of the world and the world does not have to be on the other side of the globe but can be on the other side of your home. Those in the early Church who followed Christ, leaving their pagan faiths, were the ones who did not just feel some heat under the collar; many felt the heat literally as they were burnt for Nero’s pleasure.
Jesus is emphatic; luke-warm Christians who have been bathing in their watered down understanding of the Catholic faith are “not worthy of him.” While we may propagate and promote our happy-clappy, kumbaya version of Christ, that version, good as it may be, must also be confronted with verse 38 where we are told that if Christ is not first in everything, then we stand nowhere in his court; we are not worthy of him.
Christ does not ask us to actively seek persecutors so that we may be martyred but he actively asks us to die to ourselves in order that we may find him. He says “those who find THEIR life will lose it.” What Christ is saying is that those who make a life for themselves in which HE is not part of, that life is a life created for themselves, a life devoid of him. That life, as happy as it may seem to the world, is a life lost.
The mission discourse winds down with some respite for the ones sent out. So far, most of the discourse seems to border on not just the straight and narrow but the harrowing and challenging. So, Christ encourages us to promote and support the work of the evangelist. By welcoming the missionary and in doing that, you welcome Christ. That welcome may be just a cup of cold water that you can afford but each of us can afford to fund the mission and life of the Church.
The Gospel of today ends with the doctrine we all advocate but fail short of; to practice what we preach. Jesus did exactly that! Having “instructed the twelve he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities” till he walked to Jerusalem, walked up the steps of the Praetorium and then with a cross on his back, walked all the way up to Golgotha.