The Readings for the 15th Monday, Tempus per Annum (C2)
Memorial of St Benedict, Abbot
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.Matthew 10:40
THIS WHOLE PASSAGE can seem strange. Swords, dysfunctional family fighting, etc. Ranks up there with the cut off your hands and gouge out your eye part. The other day on the Clerically Speaking podcast, Episode 178, Producer Nick (who is, suspiciously, a lay person) said he wanted to hear prachers address the strange parts of Scripture. But, I suspect, we can only do that if we’re rather fundamentalist about the whole thing. The statement about swords in verse 34 could be taken in a vacuum, but that’s not how Jesus said it or how Matthew recorded it. The NABRE parses this out into 3 different sections but there’s no reason to do that at all. Verse 34 is explained over the next 9 or 10 verses, in verse 40 it reaches its apotheosis (pun intended).
The Holy Trinity dwells in our Hearts. This is the gift of Baptism, yes, but also God is our beingness. His is the action that makes our being be. We are not part of God (in that Eastern Wooji-Wooji kinda way) but rather God is the Creator and Sustainer of us in each and every moment and action of our lives. Without Baptism we live disconnected from this reality. Through Baptism that connection is restored, turned on, if you will, although we can continue to ignore it. By way of analogy, before Baptism, the radio in the car was broken. Baptism turns on the Radio. After Baptism, while it is possible to turn the volume way down, the radio keeps playing. (I hate when my parents do this on long drives!)
Jesus runs down a list of things we might use to turn the volume down. We’ll go through it 3 times: family (v37), worldly obligations (v38), and even making up our own identity in our pride (v39). To tune into Jesus, we have to drop out, giving up our ideas about what we owe to others (v37), about what we owe to the state (v38) as it was the state that gave the Cross to Jesus, and what we owe to ourselves (v39).
Eventually, we can say with Brother Laurence, “The time of business, said he, does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess GOD in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” And again, “Sometimes I consider myself there, as a stone before a carver, whereof he is to make a statue: presenting myself thus before GOD, I desire Him to make His perfect image in my soul, and render me entirely like Himself.”
And then it will truly be as Jesus promised, “whoever receives you, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.”
When we mediate the presence of Christ in an active, living way to those around us, when we turn the radio up and blast it, those around us experience Christ himself in our fellowship. They, too, are drawn to tune in to the same station on their radio.