The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
[Scripture Readings: 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16; Rom 6:3-4, 8-11; Ma 10:37-42]
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a manufacture decided he would offer the general public a means of transportation so they would not have to rely on the streetcar, bus, or train to get where they wanted to go. He would make automobiles so one could travel anywhere there was a decent road. Would they come in a variety of colors? “Of course,” was the reply. They can have any color they want provided it’s black. So much for alternatives, diversity, preferences, options and notions that did not fall in line with his pattern of thinking.
In the Gospel today we are offered a number of ways of knowing if we are living a life of self-indulgence or a life given to the worship of God and of service to others. To go off on a tangent, to break off suddenly from a line of action or train of thought and pursue another course is only too apparent in the lives of anyone who has to face the reality of everyday living.
Christ tells his representatives, his delegates the apostles, and those who succeed them, that they must be prepared to undergo great sacrifices, even death itself if called on to do so for the sake of Christ. Even though they had only a vague idea then of what he meant, when the time came they remembered his words and gladly suffered imprisonment, hardships and finally martyrdom for Christ.
Martyrdom became an option for them staring them in the face. There are thousands of martyrs who, during the first three centuries of the Church, not only accepted but welcomed death for Christ’s sake. Some of them were quite young with their whole lives ahead of them. But they were convinced that it was the door to eternal life, the only life that really mattered. Their faith was alive and well and it showed itself when confronted with something far less than what faith had to offer. Just to go on living a natural life was not a desirable alternative. The glory of a human being is the vision of God. This is reserved for those who have passed the test. To desire eternal life and everything this implies is a mark of the true disciple. It carries with it a love of neighbor that is practical and within reason. Doing good for others insofar as one is able is always a welcome mat and it comes in all colors.