• thebetterpart

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 9-12): Welcoming and Being Welcomed

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

  • 9-12 year olds

(Begin by reading the Gospel. Sometimes it is good to have someone read it to you. The Word is meant to be heard.)


Matthew 10.37-42


Last Sunday, when we heard Jesus preparing his disciples to go out to teach, we thought about the fortitude needed to build the Kingdom of God. In the Gospel this week, Jesus continues with his instructions, and as he does so, he repeats one word over and over.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Six times Jesus says "welcomes." This must be important.


Jesus grew up in a Jewish household and he studied the scriptures. Jewish people study scripture to discover mitzvot. Mitzvot are "ways of being" in relationship with God and with others. The Jewish people know that the way to love God is to perform the mitzvot within the community. They know that this is their duty and their sacred privilege. It is how they develop their relationship with God.


One important mitzvah, (one of the mitzvot), is to welcome the stranger. Here, in the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus shows why this mitzvah is important.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

When someone welcomes one of the disciples, that person welcomes Jesus, and at the same time also welcomes God, the One who Sends Jesus.


Remember how the disciples worried about how they would be received if they were going out as prophets? Remember how we considered that choosing to live as God calls us to live could mean that people laugh at us? We considered how absolutely Jesus knows this.


But in this Gospel passage, Jesus says that we need to look at what else could happen.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

This tells the disciples just how important they are. They give people the opportunity to perform a mitzvah, the opportunity to welcome God into their homes. What a gift to offer to the world! When we choose to follow Jesus, risking laughter, we also give people the chance to know God, too.


There are two sides to this. Others can welcome us, and we can welcome others. When we extend a hand in friendship, when we give food to the hungry, when we lend to one who wishes to borrow, when we give,

even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones

we have taken the opportunity given to us to welcome God into our lives. Welcoming is a gift!


Six times Jesus says "welcomes." Three times he says "reward." So welcoming is more important than the reward. For the Jewish people, the reward for doing a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself. Perhaps then, we could say that both welcoming and being welcomed is the reward. We serve and are served and through this service, the world knows God.


Get reflections delivered to your inbox! Join my mailing list

© 2019 by The Better Part. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter
  • Instagram