First Sunday After Pentecost - All Saints
Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30
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32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven;
33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
27 Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?"
28 Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.
32 Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοὶ ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὁμολογήσω κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς. 33 ὅστις δ᾿ ἂν ἀρνήσηταί με ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀρνήσομαι αὐτὸν κἀγὼ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς.
37 Ὁ φιλῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστι μου ἄξιος· καὶ ὁ φιλῶν υἱὸν ἢ θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστι μου ἄξιος· 38 καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστι μου ἄξιος.
27 Τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι· τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν; 28 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ὑμεῖς οἱ ἀκολουθήσαντές μοι, ἐν τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ, ὅταν καθίσῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ, καθίσεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐπὶ δώδεκα θρόνους κρίνοντες τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. 29 καὶ πᾶς ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίας ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου, ἑκατονταπλασίονα λήψεται καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσει. 30 Πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι.
Larger Thought Unit
First of all we have to acknowledge that, although we have here a reading that chops and pastes texts together for the specific purpose of the feast (All Saints), the link between the two texts taken from chs.10 and 19 is quite ingenious. They both address the twelve disciples (10:1; 19:28) who, in turn, are given as an example for ‘all the saints’ (19:29). Notice also the link made through “father and mother” and other family members (10:37; 19:29) as well as through the invitation to “follow” Jesus (10:38; 19:28).
In Galatians Paul wrote against his opponents: “Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ” (1.10); “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus” (1.15-17);“Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (4.25-26).
Also in 1 Corinthians he states in the same vein: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.” (4.1-5)
Thus the ultimate seat of judgment as to whether one has been faithful to one’s mission is God’s court and not human courts—be it Jerusalem, let alone Rome. This is precisely what is reflected in the first part of today’s gospel reading. In Mt 10.32-33 the true disciple is to realize that he is not to fear the Roman Gentile tribunals and the imperial authority (see 1 Cor 6.1-3), but rather to heed Jesus and his teaching as the only valid authority for the believer. Similarly, the true disciple is not to be influenced by the pressure that kin according to the flesh exercise, i.e., the fellow Jewish leadership (see Gal 2.11-14). Rather the true disciple is to follow Jesus and his teaching since Jesus is the Christ and the only valid teacher (Mt 23.8-10).
As usual in the gospels, the disciples seem to misunderstand Jesus, just as Paul’s opponents misjudged him. Furthermore, among the disciples in the gospels, it is Peter who is the most under scrutiny and keeps missing the point, just as we hear in Gal 2.11-14. Hence the jump, through the catchword “follow,” from Mt 10 to ch.19, where it is Peter who is Jesus’ interlocutor as to the true meaning and value of “following” Jesus. The apostolic leadership will not be in the status of honor until the Lord comes to reign in the heavenly Jerusalem that inaugurates the “new world.” For the time being, as Paul taught, “Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things.” (1 Cor 4.8-13; compare with Mt 19.27-30)
David E. Garland, Reading Matthew, Crossroads Publishing Company, NY, NY, 1995;