Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kgs 4, 8-11; 14-16a

Ps 89, 2-3; 16-19

Rom 6, 3-4; 8-11

Mt 10, 37-42

WHILE HE commands our absolute love, it is precisely Jesus' justifying love that makes it possible for us to love others selflessly. The more we love Jesus, the freer we are to love others truly. But to love the Lord authentically, we must first respond to His love as He offers it to us, moment by moment.

This entails, among other things, taking up our cross and following after Him. By embracing suffering, we manifest confidence in God's provident love—a love that never lets us down. We accept the cross as a sign of God's love. As we love Jesus through our struggles, He shows us that He is our strength.

Our self-worth and future glory are not determined by what we have or who we know. Love of Jesus moves us to hope, not in our own resources and accomplishments, but in God's promise. It is not by our own talents or power that we live a new life, but rather by the glory of the Father who makes us worthy of His Son by calling us to love Jesus as the Father loves Him.

We love Jesus by welcoming Him, especially as we encounter Him in the neediness of others, just as the woman of Shunem welcomed the holy prophet Elisha. Our attentiveness to Jesus' presence purifies and deepens our love for one another. If we did not love Jesus above all things, we would not be capable of selfless charity. Nor would we receive its assured reward. Because of her graciousness to Elisha, the woman is blessed with a baby son. When Jesus occupies the central place in our hearts, even as we love and care for others, God sends us His own Son, making us worthy to receive Him in the Eucharist.

Father Peter John Cameron,O.P., teaches homiletics at St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.