As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m not generally a big fan of the lectionary, and I don’t tend to preach from it on a regular basis myself for a variety of reasons.
However, on the request of a friend, I thought I’d take a look at this week’s Gospel reading. These are merely my musings. They are not meant to be anything definitive. There are too many good commentaries available for that. Still, if it turns out well, this may be a thing I continue. So, here goes:
Sunday, June 29 – Matthew 10:40-42
40 Ὁ δεχόμενος ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ δέχεται, καὶ ὁ ἐμὲ δεχόμενος δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με. 41 ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται, καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται. 42 καὶ ὃς ἂν ποτίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ.
40 The one who receives you receives me, and the one who receives me receives the One who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones merely in the name of a disciple, truly I say unto you, that person will never lose his reward.
There are a couple of things that stand out as I read this passage.
First, on the heels of talking about the sacrifices entailed in being a disciple, of giving up father and mother, son and daughter (10:34-39), Jesus now lists some of the benefits of following Him.
As disciples of Jesus, we have a new family, a new community. And if we are truly followers of Jesus, we should warmly welcome all other disciples of our Lord.
This language of hospitality stands out. That repeated word δέχεται (receive) echoes throughout this passage. And it clearly conveys the notion of welcoming and inviting into one’s home, of offering a friend a seat at the dining room table and providing food and drink, of preparing a room to stay the night in as well.
All of this is understood in that word “receive.” Classical Greek and Roman literature is full of stories talking about welcoming and receiving guests and strangers using just this language of δέχεται. So, Jesus tells us that we ought to be hospitable and welcoming to one another as Christians.
Second, we note the reason why we should welcome them. We welcome them not because we know them, but because they know Jesus. To welcome them is to welcome Jesus in them. Likewise, to welcome the Son is to welcome the Father. So, when we receive fellow Christians as guests, we are also welcoming the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into our homes. This is an act of communion.