Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
To receive the Lord
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” Mt 10,40-42
Today we are talking about welcoming. For the evangelist Matthew, who spent the majority of his life to accumulate money and to think only to himself, the real indication of the welcoming is the opening to the others. Matthew is the disciple of the welcoming: this is the aspect of the Master which has impressed him to the most and which he has transmitted by his Gospel. Jesus announces in the today passage: “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward”. We can summarize this message as follows: who welcomes the man of God because as such, disciple, prophet or righteous whatever it is, will have as the reward the Lord, God himself. Afterwards, in the Gospel of Matthew, he identifies himself also with the poor, the needy and the small people: “I was hungry,… I was thirsty…,, a stranger….,naked…, ill …. in prison (Mt 25,31-36).
The Lord lives and he presents himself to us in the poor, in the person who needs to be welcomed. It happened to me, even with little merit, to live this experience. By the beginning of our marriage Anna Maria was used to often mention to me her desire to adopt a baby without family, to have this baby growing together with us and participating to the well being of our family. Just to make her happy as well as to stay in peace, I accepted to address the request to the juvenile court of Milan, but secretly I was hoping that our request would have been stopped in somewhere. On the contrary, it was not stopped. When Anna Maria was waiting for the third baby, the court asked us to go to Locri, in Calabria, to urgently adopt Maria Carmela. My wife was enthusiastic, but I was not. When I was in the orphanage reception of Locri, with Anna Maria happy and Maria Carmela smiling, the first instinct was to escape. I was not ready for that adoption, I felt myself cheated, betrayed and violated in my desires and in my life projects: but it was not possible to go backwards. In that moment and with such feeling, I closed the eyes and I said to the Lord: “Lord, I welcome this baby girl as I would be welcoming you”. And I jumped into that situation. Today, after so many years, I have to confess that really the Lord was waiting for me in Maria Carmela, because ”whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little … he will surely not lose his reward” (Mt 10,42). Really the Lord maintained his words: he is not beaten by anyone in generosity. From that moment it was possible to meet and recognize him in the Word, in the Providence, in the Eucharist and in the poor people. It has been another way of living.