Matthew 10 37-42
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cosy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cosy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
The heart of the paschal mystery is dying and rising. Our own daily living can sometimes seem to have much more dying than rising.
Even setting aside the issue of consciously choosing self-sacrifice, just the simple demands of our lives pull it out of us: feeding the infant in the middle of the night, ferrying the kids to soccer, helping with the homework when we are dog tired, cleaning the house and preparing meals, taking time to share some good thing with a spouse, calling and visiting an aging parent, helping the suffering and the poor.
One of the great encouragements of this Sunday’s gospel is that all this behaviour—like giving “a cup of cold water”—may seem small to us, but to God they are actions that correspond to those of Christ. The message is that our generosity is far surpassed by God’s generosity.