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Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8

The Word of God

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Every one of us is being called to be a harvester. Each one of us can reach a corner of the harvest field that is accessible to no one else. These include my family, my neighbours, my work colleagues and others who come into my life. I may be the only person who brings Jesus with his healing and compassion into their lives.
    • There are so many people who need to hear the message of love and compassion in their lives today. Where can I harvest?
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    • Jesus was compassionate, living out a mission of mercy in proclaiming Good News and bringing healing. He gave authority to his disciples to do the same, asking them to do so generously. It was a gift that they had received and they were to share it in the same spirit. His kingdom was near, a kingdom of mercy that offered hope and love to all who would accept it.
    • I am part of a broken world that needs compassion. Jesus went out to all the cities and villages reaching out to those in need. In what way am I a lost sheep? How does that feel? In my prayer I ask the Lord to help me recognise and minister to the lost sheep of this time?
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    • ‘Curing every disease and every sickness’ is an essential part of the spread of the Gospel. It is not only the miracles of the saints or the work of the medical professionals, but we all have a duty to visit the sick.
    • Jesus asks us to pray that he sends labourers into his harvest. Again, it is not just the religious professionals, priests and religious, that he is going to send. We need to be open ourselves to being sent as ‘missionary disciples,’ like Pope Francis says
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    • Jesus had compassion on the people who were harassed and helpless. What about me? Do I feel the need of his help in some part of my life?
    • He tells us to pray to send labourers into his harvest. So, let’s do it! Am I free to help the mission in some way?
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    • The Twelve are to perform cures, to cast out devils (and even to raise the dead - all in the day’s work, as it were). Indeed, something totally new has to be stirring!
    • A shepherd-king has suddenly arrived - Jesus, full of compassion, is bringing heaven close to earth.
    • Humanity is being launched on a new trajectory, is being taught the ways of a new kingdom - the people are being led forward from the ordeals of the past to a future that is all brightness.
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    • Jesus, in this gospel account I see you engaging with vigilant eyes and ears to the cry of the suffering world of your day. To them you were the compassionate one, bringing balm to the wounded places of their lives.
    • Lord, the cries of the poor and broken hearted are evident in the mass migration daily beamed into my living room. Let me not forget that you summon me today, to be your eyes, your ears and your hands of compassion. May I respond with loving compassion to all who come to me.
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    • Do I know any people who are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd? Let me hold them before my mind's eye for a moment. Can I now imagine Jesus looking at them? How does he see them?
    • If I feel harassed and helpless, how does he see me? I ask for the grace to look on the world around me with the compassionate eyes of Jesus?
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    • The compassion of God is meant to spread throughout the world. So Jesus calls others to action. The community of Sacred Space is also called. How strong is my compassion?
    • We ask for the blessing of energy and devotion to others in their time of need. We may do many things for them, and that is good. But sharing the Good News that God has ‘come near’ and is close to us may be the most valuable thing we can do for people in distress.
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    • I travel in imagination with Jesus as he makes his journeys. I ask him what gives him so much energy to serve the sick, many of whom must have been frightening to look at and to touch. He chats with me about compassion, and I ask that my small heart may grow to be as compassionate as his. I sense his compassion toward myself, and it comforts me.
    • Jesus has a mission for me. Who are the ‘lost sheep’ today whom he may want me to help? Am I generous enough to do what he asks of me?
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    • The harvest is plentiful and ripe. I think of the people around me and ask God to enlighten me to notice where there is opportunity to reap, gather or to acknowledge goodness. I bring what is good before God, giving praise and thanks.
    • There is so much good that is not noticed, so many blessings that are unacknowledged. I pray for a deeper appreciation of the rich harvest that is around me.