Mt 9:35—10:1, 5a, 6-8
Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and he cured every sickness and disease. When he saw the crowds he was moved with pity, for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the workers are only few. Ask the master of the harvest to send workers to gather his harvest.”
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority over the unclean spirits to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness.
Jesus sent these twelve on mission with the instruction: Go instead to the lost sheep of the people of Israel.
Go and proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Freely have you received, freely give.
Let us follow the pedagogy of Jesus spreading the good news of the Kingdom. We realize two images: sheep and shepherds, and harvest and workers.
Jesus appears extremely generous in his ministry, teaching and healing. People were plentifully confident, and he was moved with pity. So, he compares this harassed and helpless crowd with the sheep without shepherd. Yes, in Jesus’ love for the people and the apostles is the model of the good shepherd, always attentive to the needs of the sheep.
But the other comparison is also touching: harvest and workers. How often were his parables taken from the farmers’ life. He points to the good will of the crowd as well as in the abundance of their presence. His recommendation is however exemplary: ask the master of the fields. Do we understand here the importance of prayer for vocations?
Then, we have Jesus’ first advice to the twelve apostles. While now their mission is to Israel, later on it will be the world. They have to proclaim the proximity of the Kingdom, to make signs and to set free from demons. The last recommendation is truly precious: do everything for free.
This is the framework of Christian apostolate in the Church and for the world.
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