June 28, 2020 – 13th Week of Ordinary Time

“May we be blessed with the Grace to lead a Christ-centric life, and thus, to “Have a heart for all – extending, our hands, in help, to all!”

(Based on 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16, Rom 6:3-4, 8-11 and Mt 10:37-42 – Sunday of the 13th Week of Ordinary Time)

A very well-respected and fine Christian gentleman, died in a particular village.

The entire village, mourned his death, and felt the grief, at the passing of this man…
…who exemplified charity and goodness and who always placed Christ at the centre of his life.

Among all the kind words that were spoken at the funeral, the most heart-touching, came from a man who was least expected to speak good.

This man, was a hard-core drug addict and given to a life of drunkenness and debauchery.

Tried as much as he could, he was still unable to fully overcome his bad tendencies.

The entire village had scorned him…
… abandoned his case.
(But this “all-forsaken” man had been greatly accepted and encouraged by the gentleman who died.

In fact, it was his constant reinforcement that had become a source of hope for the “abandoned” man to revive his life!)

Standing next to the grave, this man acclaimed the gentleman in these words:
“He had a heart for everybody – good or bad, lost or least!

Never for a moment, did he think about the unworthiness of the other!
But all he did was…”extend his hand, in help, to all!”

That was indeed a wonderful tribute to a Christian:
“Having a heart for all – Extending, his hand, in help, to all!”

The Christ-centric life had enabled the gentleman to “Have a heart for all – Extending, his hands, in help, to all!”

Are we ready, as followers of Christ, to do the same?

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder of the Great Call of Jesus to follow Him, in the “way of the Cross”…
… with a deep exhortation to translate this “following” into a “life of kindness”!

The Gospel passage very clearly enunciates the demand placed on a Christian:
Giving Christ, the first place in life!

Jesus says: “He who loves father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me…” (Mt 10: 37)

Undoubtedly – and rightly so – the society places “honouring of one’s own family members, especially parents”, with the highest sense of social obligation.

Jesus, in no way, negates this supreme duty of one’s familial responsibilities.
But He goes a step further, in the demand to be His disciple: Giving God, the top most priority!

What does this point to?
For a person, generally…
… One’s feelings are most tender and filial towards one’s family members…

Jesus demands: I deserve to be loved more tenderly!

… One’s duties are oriented towards the well-being and growth of one’s family…

Jesus demands: My Kingdom deserves greater attention and devotion.

… One’s concerns are centered on the future of one’s family…

Jesus demands: Your relationship with me and your salvation, is to be the prime concern of
importance.

These demands in no way, reduce our Family Commitments

Rather, it places a demand on us: That our Christian Families ought to become Christ-Centered!
This would make us to “seek for holiness, in perfectly carrying out our duties of the family, with Christ as the Head of the Family!”

As St Francis de Sales says in his classic book – The Introduction to Devout Life:
“When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind;
And even so He bids Christians,—the living trees of His Church,—to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation.

This then, is the meaning of those strong words of Jesus…
… which demand a greater affinity and loyalty to Him, than even to one’s closest family members.

It is thus, when we “Give Christ the first place in our life!” that our lives become epitomes of kindness!

It is here that the Lord assures to those, who are willing to have Him at the centre of their lives:
“And whoever, gives to one of these little ones, even a cup of cold water, because he is a disciple…
… truly I tell you, will not lose his reward!” (Mt 10: 42)

In this simple verse, the Lord highlights the magnanimity of doing “little acts of kindness”

  1. Who can do these acts?

“Whoever”

One can be a priest… a consecrated person… a family person… a single… a poor person… “an unlucky” one… a “nobody” in the society…

“Whoever” we be – We can, all, do these acts of kindness!

  1. To whom can these acts be done?

“To Little Ones”

These “little ones” include the unnoticed people… the rejected ones… the ones whom society scorns and frowns upon… the people who are abandoned… those who are not given a “second chance”

“Little Ones” – All, are “worthy” to receive these acts of kindness

  1. What kind of acts of kindness are these?

“Giving even a cup of cold water!”

Giving water in the thirsty and dry land of Israel, was not a very “famed” act.

It was considered simple, petty, common and ordinary.

Yet, for Jesus, this was an important act of kindness.

Also to be noted is that, giving “cold” water, would certainly, take some “extra effort” on the part of the provider.

Thus, though a simple act, it did involve the elements of “sacrifice and self-giving”
“Giving even a cup of cold water” for us can therefore, include…
… “a friendly hello or a smile to people around us, who might be looking for encouragement in life”
… “a whisper of prayer for a person in distress”
… “a gentle touch of concern to a worried family member or a friend in trouble”
… “a listening ear to a broken family, a shoulder to a depressed soul or an emphatic heart for a disturbed person”
… and many many more…..!

The Second Book of Kings records the beautiful example of the Shunammite woman being blessed by God with a son, for her deed of kindness to Elisha, the Prophet (2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16)

It is when we have Christ at the centre of our lives, that all our “simple acts of kindness” also become “salvific” in nature…
… which will prompt the Lord, on Judgment Day to declare:
“Whatever you did, for one of the least of My brothers, you did it for Me” (Mt 25:40)

Let us give heed to the appeal of St Paul: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus!” (Rom 6:11)

Yes, the Lord exhorts us, as His followers to “take up our Cross and follow Him” (Mt 10:38)

May we be blessed with the Grace to lead a Christ-centric life …
… and thus, to “Have a heart for all – Extending, our hands, in help, to all!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The many troubles in your household will tend to your edification…
… if you strive to bear them all in gentleness, patience, and kindness.

Keep this ever before you, and remember constantly that God’s loving eyes are upon you amid all these little worries and vexations, watching whether you take them as He would desire.

Offer up all such occasions to Him, and if sometimes you are put out…

… and give way to impatience, do not be discouraged, but make haste to regain your lost composure!”

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