You can see all the lectionary readings for the Proper 8, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Matthew from Track 2.
This passage is short and sweet, but says so much. These are the last of his instructions to his disciples before he sends them out to do his work. He is saying they are his representatives and how they are received is how he is received by the people. He also talks about the rewards received by those who receive them and do good. To welcome the disciples (or today’s disciples—followers of Christ) is to welcome Jesus himself.
Here’s my favorite part:
[W]hoever 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.
To me, this takes the analogy further. It is not only about welcoming the disciples but in giving in their name (or in the name of Christ) to others—about welcoming others in kindness. I don’t normally get political here, but it might be considered political to say that I think this goes from the personal to the national. Not only should we be welcoming hosts in our churches and homes, but we should be welcoming refugees and immigrants into our nation. I am not basing that on this little passage along. Check out this list of Biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
Are we welcoming people into our churches and are we welcoming immigrants and refugees? Please check out the Episcopal Migration Ministries website for information on how the Episcopal Church is welcoming people from all over the world.