WELCOMING OR KENOSIS & EXALTATION
Two themes for reflection
“Welcoming” is a theme linking today’s 1st Reading and the Gospel. A Shunamite woman and her elderly husband welcomes Elisha and they agree to provide him hospitality and a small room. Their basic gesture of hospitality offered simply out of respect for a man of God and with no thought for a reward, resulted in a ‘divine reward’: she miraculously conceived and bore a son.
So too, according to the Gospel, even the simple gesture of offering a cup of cold water to ‘one of these little ones’ will not go unnoticed: that person will be rewarded.
What about Kenosis (self-emptying) and Exaltation?
- Despite her lowliness, humiliation and emptiness, (for she was without a son), the Shunamite woman continued to be generous and hospitable and for that God rewarded (exalted) her.
- Paul reminds us that in baptism we ‘die to self’ but then God raises us to live a new life (- after death there is the resurrection for those with faith).
- In the Gospel, Jesus instructs us to be ready to take up our cross and follow in his footsteps, adding that ‘anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it’.
So, in those moments of sadness, tragedy, loneliness, betrayal, depression and emptiness, turn to the Lord in prayer, and he will pick us up – he will raise us!
Whichever theme speaks to you, stay with it and then prayerfully re-read all of today’s readings including the Psalm.
Fr Philip Sainter