13th Sunday – Year A

Mass Readings

Reading 1 – 2 Kings 4:8-16
Psalm – Psalm 89:2-19
Reading 2 – Romans 6:3-11
Gospel – Matthew 10:37-42

My thoughts:

  • Discipleship Series (potential part of a series of Sunday homilies).
  • Taking up the Cross daily. Confronting death.
  • Challenge = make the sign of the Cross in public. Before and after meals. Before and after exercising. Etc.  –> Story of woman about to commit suicide but saw a man bless himself before a meal and asked him why…


Spirit of the Liturgy by PB 16, Part 4, Ch.2, 2. Sign of the Cross

  • Whenever we make the sign of the Cross, we accept our Baptism anew; Christ from the Cross draws us, so to speak, to himself (cf. Jn 12:32) and thus into communion with the living God. For Baptism and the sign of the Cross, which is a kind of summing up and re-acceptance of Baptism, are above all a divine event: the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ, and Christ opens the door to the Father. God is no longer the “unknown god”; he has a name. We are allowed to call upon him, and he calls us (178).
  • “[Y]ou will be a blessing”, God had said to Abraham at the beginning of salvation history (Gen 12:2). In Christ, the Son of Abraham, these words are completely fulfilled. He is a blessing, and he is a blessing for the whole of creation as well as for all men. Thus the Cross, which is his sign in heaven and on earth, was destined to become the characteristic gesture of blessing for Christians. We make the sign of the Cross on ourselves and thus enter the power of the blessing of Jesus Christ. We make the sign over people to whom we wish a blessing; and we also make it over things that are part of our life and that we want, as it were, to receive anew from the hand of Jesus Christ. Through the Cross, we can become sources of blessing for one another. I shall never forget the devotion and heartfelt care with which my father and mother made the sign of the Cross on the forehead, mouth, and breast of us children when we went away from home, especially when the parting was a long one. This blessing was like an escort that we knew would guide us on our way. It made visible the prayer of our parents, which went with us, and it gave us the assurance that this prayer was supported by the blessing of the Savior. The blessing was also a challenge to us not to go outside the sphere of this blessing. Blessing is a priestly gesture, and so in this sign of the Cross we felt the priesthood of parents, its special dignity and power. I believe that this blessing, which is a perfect expression of the common priesthood of the baptized, should come back in a much stronger way into our daily life and permeate it with the power of the love that comes from the Lord. ~ Ratzinger, J. (2000). The Spirit of the Liturgy. (J. Saward, Trans.) (pp. 183–184). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.





No Fear of Death by Bishop Barron

  • Paul’s letter to the Romans – most theologically sophisticated. 1st great theological text of our tradition. Written in the 50’s.
  • Baptized into Christ’s death = Christianity places death right at the beginning of the Christian life. Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. Eucharist = calling to mind of the Lord’s death. How odd. How odd that we also display the dead body of Christ in our Churches. What is this Christian preoccupation with death? Sign of the cross from the beginning at baptism. Mark someone with death. Holy water font = waters of baptism + sign of Cross = calling to mind this terrible sign by which you were marked from the beginning.
  • Is this some morbid fascination? No. Everything in Christianity conduces finally to life. Our culture tries to deny death in a 1,000 different ways. Pascal – life consumed with diverting us from death. Christianity focus = primarily to liberate us.  Fear of death = primary disease. We seek to fill up our fearful egos with money, sex, fame… but none of it works… death has its way with us.
  • Christianity inoculates us by immersing us in the fact of death from the beginning. Baptism. Eucharist. Sign of Cross. Why?? So that we might find freedom from the fear of death.
  • Like Jesus –> We enter into death – accepting death – trusting wholly in the power of God.
  • Then we triumph over death. So that we might live in newness of life. To make life truly worth living… fear of death conquered.
  • Saints = those who have conquered this great fear of death with Christ.
  • We must think of ourselves as dead to sin but living for God in Christ Jesus.


1st Reading – 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a

Second Kings deals mainly with the wars between Judah and Israel and the attacks on them from outside. The situation became even more critical when the Assyrians invaded, first in the 9th century B.C. and more vigorously in the 8th. Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), fell in 721, and later Judah became an Assyrian vassal. After the assumption of Elijah on Mount Carmel (2 Kings 2:11) Elisha the prophet takes over the role of promoting the covenant. Our reading today is the second of a complex of ten stories about Elisha. These stories alternate between the prophet’s dealings with his own people and his interactions with Gentiles. Each of the stories evidences such hallmarks of “legend” as the tendency to avoid naming characters (other than Elisha himself) and the intention of evoking wonderment at the hero’s powers. I am inclined to believe that the stories are not Alegends@ in the sense that they are not real, but in fact are true depictions of events in Elisha’s life. After all, he was a prophet of God Most High and what he did in God’s name would in fact evoke wonderment in the eyes of those who came in contact with him. I am reminded of a statement in Peter Kreeft’s book The God Who Loves You: “Prophets are like fingers, not faces. We are not meant to look at them but to the reality to which they point.”

2nd Reading – Romans 6:3-4, 8-11

“Paul says this so that we might know that once we have been baptized we should no longer sin, since when we are baptized we die with Christ. This is what it means to be baptized into His death. For there all our sins die, so that, renewed by the death we have cast off, we might be seen to rise as those who have been born again to new life, so that just as Christ died to sin and rose again, so through baptism we might also have the hope of resurrection. Therefore, baptism is the death of sin so that a new birth might follow, which, although the body remains, nevertheless renews us in our soul and buries all our old evil deeds.” [The Ambrosiaster (between A.D. 366-384), Commentaries on Thirteen Pauline Epistles Romans 6:3]

Gospel – Matthew 10:37-42

and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

This is the first time Matthew uses the word “cross.” Other allusions to the passion are found in this gospel before Matthew predicts it openly. Crucifixion was a method of execution of Oriental origin which the Romans adopted and perfected for rebels and slaves. Roman law prohibited its use on a Roman citizen. The use of the cross as a Christian symbol makes it difficult for the reader to grasp the harshness of this saying when it was initially uttered. The personal renunciation implied will go far beyond renunciation of one’s family.

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