An urgent mission
1st Week of Advent: Saturday.
Reading: Matthew 9:35-10: 1,5,6-8
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowd he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.
He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast out and cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’
Reflection St.Matthew, converted and healed tax collector, now Gospel writer offers us a comprehensive insight into the extent and depth of Jesus’ mission. The Good News of the kingdom of God was a message he wished to share with all people, he would do all that was necessary to help each one to enter a life-giving relationship with God.
In the first instance he notices that some people appear to have lost hope and are living lives of quiet despair. The level of need is so great that it is beyond the capacity of his small band of disciples to offer the in-depth pastoral care that is needed so he asks them to ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest. He then pours out a new Pentecost on the disciples empowering them to share in his ministry of healing the sick, the exorcism of demons and the restoration of life to the deceased. He reminds them that faith and membership of the kingdom are gifts that have been freely bestowed upon them and they are now responsible for sharing its riches with others.
The mission of Jesus is no less urgent today. Spiritual, emotional, social and physical ills plague our world causing much suffering and loss of hope. As baptised Christians we too have experienced our own Pentecost and are accountable to God to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. In our own quiet way, through our daily prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit working thorough us, we can help others to come to know the riches of the kingdom of God. It may also be necessary to take appropriate practical actions that will help people to have a better quality of life in the daily realities of their lives. The need is urgent. Let us not delay.