Jesus lived in a world where some were thought to be more holy than others. People were declared “unclean’ because of physical or mental illness, and were thought to be less loved by God than those who were “clean”. In the above passage from Matthew 10 we find Jesus opposing this idea. He uses the word "whoever" (Greek: hostis) as a recurring idea throughout this passage. It makes the statement comprehensive - to embrace both the bearers and the hearers of the message. The effect of this is to “level the playing fields”. There are none who are exempt – neither the preacher or the hearer, neither the righteous nor the unrighteous, neither the rich nor the poor. And just in case someone still thinks that s/he is too good/too holy/too righteous, Jesus deliberately includes an act of inclusive compassion towards the “little ones”.Through the years religious people have been tempted to create classes or categories of people. This normally sounds like this: those who believe like us are therefore loved by God, and those who do not are not loved by God. Let us build a new generation that is willing to discover that everyone (hostis) is within the love of the Creator.
Prayer: God of all creation: Thank you for loving me. Open my eyes that I may see your embrace for the other people in my world. Amen.
Second Sunday after Epiphany“Come follow me”
(Scripture reference page 59 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)