This section of the Gospel of Matthew is at times referred to as the “sermon to the sent ones.” The apostles are offered words of encouragement as they prepare to proclaim the gospel in new communities. They are assured that they will be welcomed, and that all who welcome them will receive a reward. The welcome of baptism is for all God’s children. This baptismal gift sets us free from the power of sin and death. In today’s gospel, Christ promises that the disciple who gives a cup of cold water to the little ones serves Christ himself.
Rooted in Jesus’ words regarding welcome, the Rule of Saint Benedict states, “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.” In this Benedictine practice, the community that welcomes is blessed by the guest and the guest in turn is blessed, receiving care and hospitality. From worship we are sent on our baptismal mission: to serve the “little ones” of this world – the vulnerable and marginalized – and to be a sign of God’s merciful welcome. From worship we are sent on our baptismal mission: to serve the “little ones” of this world – no matter how big or little – and to be a sign of God’s triumphant love. We have been welcomed and so are called to be welcoming.
image: Boy drinking water. Copyright © Andrea Matone/Alamy Stock Photo. Used by permission.