The First Reading is from the Second Book of Kings. This reading is about the hospitality scripture par excellence. The woman in today’s reading is incredible. As a wealthy and influential woman from Shunem offers the prophet Elisha the hospitality of meals, a bed, a lamp, and a chair on a regular basis. It seems that the prophet has a special place in the home and heart of this woman since Elijah is a man of God. A man who speaks the Word of God. Hospitality in the scripture is a sacred duty. Therefore, her hospitality to the prophet is rewarded by the promise of a son she and her husband have been longing for.
The Second Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul wants the Romans to understand that in Baptism they took on a new identity. Pay attention to the first line of this passage; “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” What it is saying is that in baptism they died to their former life. Therefore, if they are truly Christians, that is, followers of Christ, then they should conform to everything they say and do to be in accordance with His teachings and His will.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. This Gospel has two sections. In the first section, the Gospel does not advocate abandonment of familial ties and responsibilities but places the commitment to Christ above all. The reality is, of course, if one is truly a committed disciple of Christ, he/she becomes more capable of loving family members and all others with a selfless love. The second part of today’s Gospel calls us to be hospitable to those who carry the message of Christ to us. In welcoming the messengers of the Gospel, we are welcoming Christ himself. The gift of even a cup of water to little ones will not go unrewarded.