Better for us is shame, rather than praise
Jesus is the embodiment of the truth that it is better to receive shame than praise from the world.
The world cannot accept the Word. The Word is in the world but the world does not know him even. Though coming to his own, the Word is still not acceptable. Worldly Jews, of course, do not show what is best in Judaism. But those who receive the Word get new life as their great reward, which is better than the return the woman from Shunem got.
But the truth is the Word has become like us in every way but sin. Sure, a mother gave birth to him just as to each one of us. Mary, however, conceived through the Holy Spirit. Virginity is no hindrance to this greater and better power of all.
Jesus, then, is the son of Mary and heir to the throne of David as well. But better still, he is at the same time the Son of the Most High. The only thing is that it is hard for his own to see his messianic and divine character.
That was because his birth took place in the city of David, far from the capital, from the kingly palace. Joseph saw Mary give birth to Jesus in an animal shelter. She did not lay him in a princely crib, but in a manger, which showed the newborn as food.
Yes, Jesus shows by words and works that is better that others swallow him up than he swallows up others. He teaches the same lesson by giving us the Eucharist. Moreover, the washing of the feet, sign of love to the end, highlights that to serve is better than to be served.
Better than what the world fosters is what it scorns in the teaching and example of Jesus.
The foolishness of God in Jesus is wiser than the wisdom of the world. And stronger than worldly strength is divine weakness, whose peak is the cross. That is why we receive the teaching that God chooses the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing.
And to the scandal of Jews and the shock of pagans, Jesus proclaims the beatitudes. Better to be poor, serving God wholly and the neighbor as ourselves, than be rich, but serving money. Challenging, too, is the gospel reading today.
Lord, make us rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep and, thereby, become better than beasts (SV.EN XII:222). Let us see God increasingly better. Grant us peace, blessing even those who persecute us.
2 July 2017
13th Sunday in O.T. (A)
2 Kings 4, 8-11. 14-16a; Rom 6, 3-4; Mt 10, 37-42