December 3, 2016
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
The Gospel Today
Matthew 9:35B-10:1, 5A, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
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,
AThe 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.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go 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.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Miguel Josemaria C. Valeroso)
Why are there few laborers? What if we can help just two friends or family members to get closer to God? Then, what if those two friends or family members could help two more each of their own friends? Then two more, then 2 more and so on. If this happens, I think the world would quickly be overrun by Christians.
In the Gospel, the Lord has sent the Twelve to gather the lost sheep of Israel back to His Sheepfold. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus again sends the Twelve to all the ends of the earth. Is there a miscalculation on our Lord’s part? In fact, the original Twelve had died even before the Gospel reached the Americas or the Philippines. Did he expect twelve men to rally to God all the people on this planet, which is now home to about two billion people? Of course not! God has ordered the Twelve to baptize all nations and thus make of them new disciples to be sent. And that was what they did. By the time all those who were originally sent died, the seeds of the Catholic Church know now have already been planted in many parts of the world. These seeds were watered by the sweat of the Saints’ witness to the Gospel and the blood of the martyrs.
You and I too are called by God to become laborers in his vineyard. We can give witness to the Gospel in our own state in life. Some of us are called to serve as priests, others as husbands or wives, as parents or children, still others as consecrated men and women. But on whatever state we are in, we are all asked to work in the Lord’s vineyard.