Sunday, June 25, 2017

Go Tell It On the Roof Top

This Sunday's Gospel reading, Matthew 10:24-39, contains more of Jesus' instructions to the twelve who he was sending out to the lost sheep of Israel. Like last Sunday, preachers are presented with some challenging material and it will be interesting to see what they choose to expound upon and what they choose to ignore.

"‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father,and a daughter against her mother,and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 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 the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.'"
The gist of the message is for the disciples to proclaim the Gospel whatever the cost. If we take seriously the costs listed in the verses above, most of us might reconsider our level of commitment to the Church. After all, this passage comes on the heels of Mother's Day and Father's Day here in the U.S., and now we read that we have to love Jesus more than we love our parents! I am sure that was just as hard for the twelve to swallow then as it is for us today. To modern ears, ears that have heard of the dangers of cults and how cult leaders get their followers to separate themselves completely from their parents, Jesus' teachings might sound scary. If anyone needs reassurance, let me make it clear that Jesus is not advocating separation. He is asking us to love Him above all else, and what that means in practice is that we will love others more than we ever could have before we were born anew.

So go tell it on the roof top, that Jesus Christ is Lord!

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