The phrases “mutual kindness”, “mutual goodness”,”mutual sensitivity”, “mutual thoughtfulness” seem to fit very easily into the understanding of our first reading from 2Kings today. Elisha the prophet is the recipient of a tremendous amount of generosity on the part of the “woman of influence” referenced in this reading. She, along with her husband, has made Elisha welcome in her home and at their table during his frequent “passing by” their dwelling. This woman then goes beyond the normal boundaries of hospitality and arranges “a little room” for Elisha “so that when he comes to us he can stay there”. She and her husband do not wait to be asked! They can clearly see Elisha’s need and they respond with a kindness that is commendable! Elisha , in turn, seeks the advice of Gehazi, his servant, in attempting to do something good for this woman and her husband. HIs “asking” advice/suggestions of Ghazi tends to point out the caution given to us when we want to help another. We cannot presume “what” it is that they need. We cannot consciously or unconsciously impose on them OUR perception of THEIR need! We need to do some “asking”, inquiring, the seeking of a deeper understanding of the “other”! Elisha does just that and promises new life for the family!
Matthew’s Gospel seems to throughly support the “dynamic” of our first reading. Matthew instructs the early Christian community in the proper “receiving” of the “prophet”, of “the righteous man”, “the little ones”. So small a gesture as offering a “cup of cold water” to one trying to do the Lord’s bidding is held up as an important action. When we, like the woman in our first reading, recognize the goodness of the other, ……their desire to do what God is asking of them, ……….we are encouraged to respond in supportive and positive ways! These messages in our scripture readings make it extremely important that we open our eyes…..and our hearts…..to those around us who are trying to follow the mandates of the Lord. The effects of these “pandemic days” make it very difficult for us to be as sensitive, kind, just, generous, forgiving, etc., etc. But, the invitation to the early Church….and to us!….is quite obvious. We do NOT have to wait to be asked to help! We do not have to DELAY the good act! We do NOT need to look for excuses for our inaction! We are “Catholic”! We are followers. Of Jesus Christ! We are capable of doing the “right thing”……..WITHOUT BEING ASKED!!!!!
We have received enough meaningful “lessons” in these days of demonstrations, Covid19, insecurity, and fear. It is now the time for us as individuals, as Church and as a Nation to DO THE RIGHT THING WHETHER PEOPLE UNDERSTAND OR AGREE! ……..LOVE GOD AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!!!!! That seems pretty clear! How are you and I doing….?