June 28th 4th after Pentecost
Readings: Psalm 89: 1-4, 15-18 and Matthew 10: 40-42
Today’s gospel passage is short and at first, seems quite simple to understand. Jesus says that we should welcome the person who comes in Jesus’ name; probably this refers to wandering Christian teachers in the early church. At this point in the gospel, Jesus has selected his disciples, sent them out to the Jewish communities, spoken of the challenge they will face and here he calls on them to be made welcome. At the end of his teaching in chapter 25, he will expand this teaching to include all who are poor and struggling (the sheep and the goats are separated according to whether they have been loving to the needy).
Matthew shapes the teaching of Jesus in his gospel in five “chunks” and this is the second chunk. Some think he does it this way just as there are five books of Moses in the Old Testament. Matthew has taken the shorter gospel of Mark and expanded it mostly with these teaching chunks, like the Sermon on the Mount and more parables. Whatever the reason Matthew brings together the teaching of Jesus into sections so that his readers and listeners can reflect on what it means to be a follower of Jesus. All through his gospel, we realise that faith and action go together. Faith without action or deeds is worthless, but deeds without faith will not get us to God either.
Two weeks ago we considered the world – people harassed and helpless – last week the context was one which was more negative and confrontational. Today we are called to be welcoming and accepting, generous to the needy. Because we are secure in Jesus we can be generous and open to others.
What do you notice from this passage?