The compassion of Jesus for the people — indeed his whole public ministry — is summarized by Matthew thus: Jesus went around to all towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the Kingdom of God, and curing every disease and illness. Peter, in his speech at Pentecost, would tell the people the same thing about Jesus: “Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst” (Acts 2:22).
Jesus was not working alone. Early, he called disciples to be with him, and from the group he chose the Twelve to be apostles, that is, people whom he would send with his authority. He sends them as laborers in God’s harvest. Harvesting and shepherding are two images used by Jesus in the Gospel to speak of “gathering.” The disciples are both harvesters who work in the Lord’s field and shepherds in his flock. They gather people for the Kingdom of God, and protect and nurture them as shepherds of God’s flock.
When he was elected Pope, Benedict XVI introduced himself to the world as a humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard. We are all workers of the Lord, whether as fishers of men, or workers in the vineyard or in the Lord’s harvest.
FIRST READING • Is 30:19-21, 23-26
Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more will you weep; He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you. 20The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left.
He will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground, And the wheat that the soil produces will be rich and abundant. On that day your flock will be given pasture and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows; The oxen and the asses that till the ground/ will eat silage tossed to them with shovel and pitchfork. Upon every high mountain and lofty hill there will be streams of running water. On the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall,The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater like the light of seven days. On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of his people, he will heal the bruises left by his blows.
GOSPEL • MATTHEW 9:35—10:1, 5a, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.