Saturday of week 1 of Advent – Gospel


Commentary on Matthew 9:35 -10:1,6-8
The promises of the First Reading are shown being fulfilled in the person of Jesus in the Gospel. We can read it in three sections:

  1. Jesus is shown constantly on the move, teaching in synagogues all over the region, proclaiming the Good News of God’s reign coming among them and bringing healing to all who are sick and diseased. Matthew does not use the title of Good Shepherd for Jesus but he does indicate the deep compassion of Jesus for all those are harassed and depressed, people with no direction in their lives, who are like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus is clearly the Shepherd who can lead them back to where they belong.
  2. He then says to his disciples that there is a huge harvest waiting to be reaped. Up to this he has been working alone but he needs help, especially after he has gone. There are very few people available to work in the harvest field. He then calls the Twelve and hands on to them his own powers to liberate people from evil powers and to heal all kinds of sickness.
    The harvest is still great and the need for labourers is as great as ever. In asking the Lord to send labourers into the harvest, we have to ask ourselves what is the role of each one of us. It is not just a question of priests and religious. Jesus was not talking to priests and religious (there was no such thing at the time the gospels were written) but to every one of his followers – to every one of us who has been baptised. Every one of us is being called to be a harvester. Each one of us can reach a corner of the harvest field that is accessible to no one else. These include my family, my neighbours, my work colleagues and others who come into my life. I may be the only person who brings Jesus with his healing and compassion into their lives.
  3. And what are we to do? Let people know that the Reign of God is very close, because God himself and Jesus are so close. Once we say Yes to God and his Son, they become part of our lives. And we are to do the same work he told his to do:

Heal the sick: by our sympathy and support, which can often do more than any medical treatment.

Raise the dead: perhaps not literally. But there are many who are intellectually, emotionally and socially dead. They are physically alive but they have stopped living meaningful lives. We can help them to find life again.

Cleanse the lepers: all those people who are on the fringes of society, whom we neglect, ignore, despise, reject, avoid. There are the dropouts, the drug addicts and alcoholics, the HIV/AIDS victims, the homeless, single mothers, ‘sex workers’… Let them know they are accepted and loved by God.

Cast out devils: help people liberate themselves from the demons of fear, anger, hatred, violence, from drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sexual abuse (themselves and others), greed for money…

There are so many people who need to hear and to experience the message of Christmas.

There are many, alas, for whom Christmas is Bad News, a time of misery, depression and loneliness. Let’s change that.

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