Homily for the eleventh Sunday in 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 Zeb'edee, 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.»"

The mission of Jesus, which the Father entrusted to him in sending him to us, was completely accomplished by our Lord and Savior:  Jesus has completely revealed to us who the Father is, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth.  But Jesus accomplished this mission in himself only:  it is only with regard to his own person that Jesus, who is the Head of the Church, carried out all that the Father had ordered him to do.  This means that even though Jesus accomplished all of his mission, he could accomplish it only with regard to the men and women of his time, and more precisely those whom he met during his public life.

However, thanks to the Holy Spirit who was sent to us on the day of Pentecost, thanks to this "other Paraclete" (John 14:16) - Jesus being the first - Jesus continues his mission in the Church, who is his Body:  that which was accomplished in the Head during Jesus' life on earth is now accomplished, until the end of time, in the Body, so that the entire Person of Christ, both Head and Body, faithfully carries out all that the Father has ordained from the beginning of time.  So, the mission of the Church is none other that of Jesus, and it continues to be spread and communicated, throughout the ages, until the return of Christ the Savior.  This is why the Lord said, in praying to his Father:  "As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18)

Today, Jesus' gaze, through the Church, falls upon the men and women who live on the earth:  "When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."  And today, Jesus also says to us:  "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."  Are there not many men and women in our time who need the help of the Word of God to save them?  And are there not few workers who are busy spreading the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ?  Therefore, all together, let us pray the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest!

"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.»"

The Lord's instructions don't seem to relate to the beginning of the mission of the Church, but rather to the end of this mission, to the time which will precede the return of the Son of Man.  Indeed, we know that, from the earliest times, Peter himself, the Prince of the Apostles, was sent to the Gentiles by the Holy Spirit who inspired him in a vision (cf. Ac. 11:18); this contradicts Jesus' instruction:  "Go nowhere among the Gentiles."  In addition, right after his discourse to his apostles, Jesus said:  "For truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes." (Mt. 10:23)

Jesus foresaw all things!  He left his Church all the instructions she would need in order to accomplish her own mission until the end of time!  The Lord didn't leave anything to chance:  through his Divine Providence, God watches over every man and woman who comes into the world, and he entrusts each person to the solicitude of his Church!  God freely does all this, and he does so in a completely gratuitous manner:  the mission the Church has received from the Lord, as well as the gifts of the Spirit necessary to achieve such a mission, are a free gift of God, and do not belong to the Church as a right.  Also, Jesus had said to his apostles:  "You received without paying, give without pay."

Until the end, until his return at the end of time, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, through the Providence of God, will watch over those of his own who are in the world in order that he may achieve through them - through us - the mission his Father has entrusted to him:  "Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt. 28:20)  And in what better way could Jesus be with us, if not through the Eucharist, the Sacrament which is truly the Grace of graces?  May Mary teach us and help us to be faithful in the accomplishment of the mission of her divine Son, thanks to the Sacrament of his Body and Blood received in communion!