The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16 + Psalm 89 + 1 Romans 6:3-4,8-11 + Matthew 10: 37-42

July 2, 2023 I am at Mary Mother of Light Maronite Church this weekend.

We have all lived with the Gospels long enough by now to know that a literal reading is likely to get us into trouble or lead us to close the book and go further. The beginning verses we proclaim today are a perfect example since the bond of family love can hardly be in conflict with our love for God. In fact, mis-reading these verses might raise some conflict with the fourth commandment. The truth is, the quality that marks our relationship with other people is, in fact, the quality that marks our relationship with God. So, we have to go deeper to get the point that Christ is urging on us here. I think it may be a challenge to distinguish between what matters and what does not.

All of us, for all kinds of reasons, find ourselves, now and then, attaching great weight and importance to very unimportant things. Being able to sort that out requires knowing the difference between a want and a need. Needs must be met. It is everyone’s natural right, and it becomes immoral to refuse another’s need. To refuse someone’s right to health care, food, clean water, or even life itself, is immoral. 

Wants are a different thing. They do not have to be met. Of course, life would be more pleasant or comfortable, or even more fun if they were met, but if the wants are not met, nothing really terrible happens. With that in mind, there is really only one great need in life, and that is Salvation. It’s the only thing that can ever really last. Everything else, even our deepest human relationships become less important. Not unimportant, mind you, but certainly less.

Christ is not calling us to leave or ignore our family and friends. Christ is not asking us to embrace a life empty of human relationships. He is calling us to a balanced life realizing that nothing is more important than our relationship with him simply because it is on that relationship that everything else begins to depend. It is from that relationship that real good begins to flow, that justice and peace become possible. Any other relationship that endangers it is not worth having.

Father Tom Boyer