Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Fr. Adam Royal
July 10, 2021 - 5:00 PM
July 11, 2021 - 8:30 AM
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.” Jesus was quite strict when he sent his disciples out two by two. They weren’t allowed to take money, food, or extra clothing and they had to wander around all of Israel. If we had been in one of the cities of the time and seen the disciples, it would not have been a pretty sight. They would have been dirty, smelly, and hungry beggars. They would have been shouting at us “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand.” I think many of us would have dismissed them without a moments consideration. Surely God can equip his messengers better than this.
It is this attitude which I think gives us insight into Jesus’ command, “Stay in whichever home welcomes you until you leave.” That is, when the disciples entered a new city they were not to seek out a rich person who could afford to house them and equip them to spread the Gospel. Neither were they to seek out the blessed poor whom Christ came to liberate and lift up. Christ commanded his disciples to obey a teaching of God’s law that we often forget, “you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great.” Which is to say, Christ commanded his disciples to be indifferent to wealth. Money has no effect on the gospel; it is equally accessible to all. In the world, wealth gains us access. It buys new things, places, experiences, and even knowledge that most people cannot have. But this access is illusory, because nothing is truly gained. Wealth creates ever new barriers between people. It increases the distances that separate us and reinforces our prejudices. Wealth, despite so many people’s thirst for it, only serves to dehumanize us. It makes us servants of itself and the things we buy. It demands all of our time and attention and sows discord in our family and social lives. The more money consumes us the less we really have. In the last analysis, wealth is nothing.
Thus the Gospel rejects it as something not worthy of consideration. The followers of Christ prefer neither the rich nor the poor because there is no difference. We all possess an equal dignity and a radical equality before God. God owns everything and we, by right, own nothing at all. Therefore we are to seek God alone. This is the essence of Jesus’ command. When the disciples enter a new town they are to stay at the first house that welcomes them. That is, the first person who shows them hospitality, the first person whose heart has been so infused with the grace of God that they would open their home to these dirty and hungry prophets. Holiness is all that drives a Christian.
This is something that we all need to rediscover and renew within ourselves. God’s call to each of us is the same as that given to the disciples: be holy and carry that holiness to the world.