June 15, 2008
Eleventh Sunday in ordinary time
Matthew 9: 36-10: 8
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. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I believe that you love me, that you are close by my side, and that you will be walking with me throughout this day. I trust in you, Lord. I trust you more than I trust myself, because you are infinitely good and all powerful. I love you, Jesus. I love you because you died on the cross for me, to save me.
Petition: Lord, tell me what you want from me.
1. A Shepherd’s Heart At the sight of the crowds of people wandering aimlessly, Jesus’ heart is moved with pity. Still today Christ’s heart is crying out to all of those poor souls tumbling into the profound chaos of sin. With tears in his eyes Jesus continues to lament that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” But he isn’t satisfied with an idle contemplation of the problem; he looks for the solution: “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers.”
2. The Invitation Jesus called his twelve apostles by name. Ever since that day he has continued to call young men and women “to be with him” (Mark 3:14) and be his intimate friends: to share in his sorrow at the sight of every strayed lamb and to rejoice at every converted sinner. Jesus is summoning each one of us and is anxiously awaiting our response.
3. Out into the Harvest. Once they accept Christ’s call and his friendship, he invites them to share in his mission, the mission he has received from the Father: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Christ sends his apostles out into the world to preach the Kingdom of God. He is inviting me to join in his effort to bring the good news of the Father’s love to all people. Am I willing to accept?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, so many people do not yet know you or do not know you well. You’ve given me the grace to know and love you. Give me now the grace and courage I need to listen to your voice, take up my cross, and follow you.
Resolution: I will pray for a generous response from those who are being called to a priestly or religious vocation.
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