Mt 10: 37-42

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever 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.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

A Prophet’s Reward

Have you prayed before a crucifix lately?  There we’re reminded of Jesus’ promise that those who lose their life for his sake will find it. A prophet’s reward comes not in this lifetime. The film Selma documents the efforts in 1965 of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his colleagues to challenge Southern laws that blocked African Americans from voting.  After images of non-violent black protesters being mercilessly beaten by police appeared on national television, 25,000 people of every race and faith tradition from around the nation joined Dr. King in a 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.  Picking up the cross and walking in the footsteps of Jesus, this nonviolent protest moved the conscience of the president and the nation. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, guaranteeing the right of every adult American to vote. Only three years later, at the age of 39, Dr. King was assassinated.  Tragically, the fullness of this prophet’s reward is still in the making. Our nation continues to struggle toward full racial equality. 

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, in Barrington, IL.  His weekly video reflections can be viewed at Heart to Heart.  


O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.

—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.