Homily for the eleventh Sunday of the year
Year A - Mt. 9:36-10:8


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"When Jesus 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 laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'


"And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.


"The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


"These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, 'Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.' "





Homily:


"When Jesus 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 laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'"


After having travelled throughout part of Galilee, Jesus seems to look back and take in with a single glance all the men and women that he had met on the roads and in the villages. Jesus sees those people who are there, near him, and what his spirit sees is all the men and women of every time and of every age! A simple glance into the past allows him to see the future that is before him, a future that he will see from Heaven above, through the eyes of those who will continue his mission on earth, until the end of time!


For Jesus and the Church are one: there is but a single Body of Christ! It is a Mystery... That is, it is something that we do not completely understand, for it surpasses us, but about which we can say a few things, express a few thoughts, and these allow us to circumscribe the Mystery and say of what it consists, seen not from the inside, but from the outside. In short, a Mystery is never something irrational, for we can say something reasonable about it, but it is something that surpasses reason, for it is supernatural.


In one sense we can say that a Mystery is something unreasonable, something absurd, something insane! Does Saint Paul not speak of the "folly of the Cross" (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18)? Now, is the Cross not the supreme Mystery of the Love of God towards men? If we had no faith, would we not think it madness to endure such torments and such a death for men and women who had immensely offended us? Without a doubt! But, once again, a Mystery is something supernatural: it is an object of faith!


So we must believe that Jesus, who is in Heaven, is also with us, through his Holy Spirit. If we believe this, then we believe in the Mystery of the Church, we believe in that merciful Love of the Lord who never abandons his Church, but who still guides her through those whom he had established to continue his Work of evangelization. There is but one Body of Christ and all those who have faith, hope, and charity are part of it. May the compassion of Jesus for all those who await the Good News of Salvation thus also be ours, in order that, like Jesus and with him, we might pray "the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


"And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him."


In the Church, we are never alone... First, Jesus is with us, through his Holy Spirit. Next, there is always someone who has just prayed for us, for that person has prayed for all who belong to the Church. Finally, in a little while, someone will also pray for us, no matter who we are... For the Church is holy, thrice holy! This means that, at any time, there is at least one person on earth who prays, or who has just prayed, or who has the intention of praying soon... Is it not comforting to know this? Is this not an excellent means for helping us to heal the infirmities of our soul and body?


Jesus had conferred to his Apostles the power of driving away evil spirits and of healing the sick. Today, prayer, which is a true supernatural power, still allows all the disciples of Christ to participate in the healing of each and every person: the healing of the soul, both that of sinners and of the faithful who go from good to better on the path of holiness; and the healing of the body, which can only get better if the soul itself is sustained and comforted by the power of the grace of God... Let us therefore pray for all those who suffer in their spirit or in their body! Let us pray above all that the Mystical Body of Christ, the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, might grow ever greater in unity and truth!


"These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, 'Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.' "


Once again, Jesus seems to see from afar the Jews who will convert at the end of time, as Saint Paul himself had proclaimed (cf. Rm. 11:25). Then, truly, Christ will say through his Apostles at the last hour: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." It will then be the time of supreme Mercy, for is there any greater sin to forgive than that of deicide, of which the Jews of the time of Jesus were guilty as a people? Truly, then, the compassion of the Lord will be overflowing, and there will be so many sheep to lead to pasture that the shepherds will seem to be insufficient in number... "Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary watch over each of her children! May she deign to pray for each of them so that, everywhere and always, Jesus the Good Shepherd may lead his sheep to the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Glory of the Father in the Holy Spirit!




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