Dom, 28 Giu 20 Lectio Divina - Anno A
2 Kgs 4:8-11,14-16
The liturgy of the XIII Sunday of the ordinary time helps us to reflect on the requirements and reward of discipleship of Jesus.
All three readings are knit together to give the same message.
The first reading from the second book of the kings presents the story of a prophet. Elisha and the Shunammite woman. This story illustrates the great faith and the action of the woman. Faith; she recognized the man who passed by her home as a holy man of God (2 Kgs: 4:9). In v.8 a woman of great rank, the word great has different sense and meaning like, one who has wealth, position, power, and influence in the society. But here it describes as the spiritual perception and the godly character of the woman. We can find the various meaning of the word great in many places of the Bible for example 1 Kgs: 10: 23, Mt: 25: 35-40, 1 Tim: 3:2 and 5: 10, etc.
Action: the hospitality that she showed to him. She consults with her husband and built an upper room to facilitate the stay of the man of God (2Kgs: 4:10). The reward that she received for the kindness that she showed him was her child. A great blessing which wiped away the doom of her womb, the curse, so here we are reminded again with the words of St. James, as a body without the soul is dead so faith without works is also dead ( Jas: 2:26).
The story reveals another truth, that is, there is no difference between the men of any rank to do the mission of God. Here this woman who proves to be a missionary not by preaching the word of God but being an instrument to shelter the man sent by God.
In the Gospel, the discipleship of Jesus is a call to configure with Christ's identity, outlook, and directions. In v.37-39 Jesus, words seem to be contradictory to the low of God given by Moses. A sensible human being would never ask a woman to choose between her children and her husband because both are important. But what does Jesus exactly mean in this is to set precisely between the family and God if you give first place to the family you set in the wrong direction, you deviate from the origin. “No ties of nature can be allowed to detect a disciple from utter allegiance to the Lord. The Lord must take precedence over all our relationships. The cost of discipleship is to experience the cross, tensions, alienations from our own family and friends, says William Mac Donald.
There is no supreme loyalty other than this requirement of the Lord. The first-century Christians had understood well the importance of this aspect. That is why when they were tested, tried, persecuted, and executed to renounce the loyalty to Christ they stood firm for Christ and they rejoiced to accept the terrific death for the sake of Jesus. This loyalty is what St. Paul affirms in the Letter to Romans in the second reading of the liturgy (Rm: 6:3-4,8-11) when we were baptized with Christ we were also baptized in his death. What does this death mean to us and Christ? It means the death of sin and shame for Christ cleansing humanity and bearing the sonship and daughtership for us with God the Father.
In the beginning, we spoke of requirements and the reward of discipleship of Jesus. Following Christ is not without challenges, trials, and tribulations and even more, affirmed are the rewards of renunciation and mission.
In the Old Testament, we read the kings were ruling the people anointed and sent by God but through a mediator that was a prophet and the priests serving at the altar. But they were being instructed and ordered through a prophet we see like Samuel, Moses Elijah, and Elisha so on. That is the way the word of God is being spoken and send through the mediator, here Jesus too sent by the Father to fulfill His Will. Now He sends His disciples that is you and I to fulfill the same mission of God. Let us not forget that once set on the way of Jesus, cross is sure, death is sure, the exclusion is sure but the rewards of a prophet, holy man and the disciple is surer. Let us be grateful to God for considering every creature to be his worthy instruments to bring to realization of his Holy will and hope for the rewards in the presence of the Father the righteous King.