Year A: 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16
If you can, it would help to read the whole of the First Reading as it appears in the Second Book of Kings.
The selected passages were chosen to reflect the Gospel back into the Old Testament to offer an example of the reward offered to those who welcome prophets and men and women of God.
A woman has noticed that Elisha frequently passes her home and, having offered him meals, feels that she and her husband can offer him more. So, they decide to build a room for him and to furnish it for him.
Their welcome goes far beyond the duty of hospitality - they create, in effect, a small home for Elisha.
Here is a place where he can come to rest and relax - a space where he can be alone but knowing too that human contact is there when he needs that.
Such understanding of someone’s needs is rare. To be willing to put yourself out to fulfil their needs is probably even rarer!
Elisha is obviously grateful and wants to offer something by way of thanks to the woman who has made him welcome. With the help of his servant, Gehazi, he comes upon the one thing the woman lacks - a child and, more specifically, a son. For a woman of the time, this was a great misfortune.
And so, the prophet declares that, as reward for her generosity towards him, she will receive the thing she most deeply desires - a son.
It is an example of what Jesus was highlighting in the Gospel - that God is never outdone in generosity. Those who give to those called to a more radical path will themselves be generously rewarded.
What does it mean for me?
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