Promise! Promises!

Reflection on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Times

by Marilyn Bergt, CDP

The readings for this Sunday:

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
Romans 6: 3-4; 8-11
Matthew 10: 37-42

When I was much younger, and a new and inexperienced Aunt, I was playing with my then 2 and 4 year old nieces in their backyard. They didn’t want me to leave so I promised them that on Tuesday I would do something with them. At this point I don’t even remember what specific thing I had promised. Tuesday came and work obligations prevented me from doing it. The following weekend my 4-year-old niece told me that I had promised them can picture the rest of the story. I was surprised at what my niece remembered because my “adult” intention was to do something with them again “sometime soon”. My sister-in-law gently said to me, “You never promise a little child something you can’t keep.” I have never forgotten those words. After that with my nieces, now with my little great nieces and nephew, and with anyone with whom I make a promise, I am clear about what I am able to promise, when I will do it and I keep that promise. If something unavoidable comes up I call and we reschedule, never cancel, what we promised. Many times that is easier said than done.

Today’s readings speak to us of promises kept. Elisha promises the holy, but skeptical, woman of Shunem that “this time next year you will be fondling a baby son.” … and the promise was kept. Later in Kings Elisha also brings that same son back to life; further keeping the promise of life for the woman’s family.

Next Paul reminds us that the Baptismal promise to us is “death to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Matthew recounts Jesus promises “…whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” and “…whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple -- will surely not lose his reward”

I am living for God in Christ Jesus. In giving to lowly I will not lose my reward. Do I truly believe these promises? How?

My nieces would say to me: “Aunt Marilyn!?!” And Jesus would say to me/you??