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(Part 224)


July 11, 2017
Today’s gospel: Matthew 9:32-38

The gospel today teaches us about Jesus’ work and what would now be the proper response to the call to the New Evangelization.

We start with the condition of God’s people. At that time, “they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (v.36b). Today, 99 of the 100 sheep are lost. They are not securely within the sheepfold, that is, the Church. They are being lost to the world, to sects and to cults, and we are losing them by default, because we are not there for them. The pastors are not educating lay Catholics enough about the essence of Christianity and life of faith and morality.

But “the harvest is abundant” (v.37a). There is much that can be done to bring back the lost sheep. Why will the harvest not be rich, when the salvation of souls is at the very heart of God, when Jesus already won salvation for us on the cross, when divine grace is abundant, when the power of the Holy Spirit is available? But people need to be brought into this whole wonderful situation. They need to meet Christ anew. And the way that would happen is when we go about “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” (v.35c).

But there are so many to be reached. Who are to reach them? The gospel is to be proclaimed by us, as instruments of Jesus. So the problem is that “the laborers are few.” (v.37b). It becomes a vicious circle. There are few laborers so only a few are reached. Those who are reached would in turn be the workers of the Kingdom, but there are few that are reached and so there are few laborers. What is needed is to work with the laborers that are available, and do a rapid and massive work of evangelization.

As the number of workers grow, we look to the massive work that needs to be done, to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. And in every particular locality, the gospel is to be brought to the grassroots at the peripheries. Just like Jesus who “went around to all the towns and villages” (v.35a), we too need to go to every town, every area, every nation and every sector of society.

Those who meet Christ will start to live Christ. In this they need to know and be formed in the Christian life. Just like Jesus who was “teaching in their synagogues” (v.35b), we too need to do formation in the parishes and in the publics. We do have the programs for this.

Looking at the massiveness of the work, we continue “to ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (v.38). It is His work after all and we are just His instruments. Those who are starting to live Christ must also share Christ.

There is urgency in this work. For Jesus, “at the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them” (v.36a). We too cannot be content in our own salvation or our secure life in the Church. We must desire that all be saved and enter into vibrant communion with the whole people of God.

As we do all the above, we are working at the liberation from all that oppress humanity, just like Jesus who was “curing every disease and illness.” (v.35d). What is the ultimate solution to poverty, crime, violence, immorality, environmental degradation, and so on? It is conversion of hearts and minds. How will that happen? It is as people meet Christ and start to live Christ. How will that come about? It is as we share Christ, as we proclaim the gospel so that people would be led to repent and put their faith in Jesus, and call upon his name.

When Jesus drove the demon out of a mute person, “the crowds were amazed and said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’” (v.32). When we are touched by the Spirit of Jesus, we are no longer mute, but we proclaim Christ, and in doing the work of evangelization, we help drive demons out of the lives of people and the territories they hold in bondage. Let the New Evangelization happen, so people will be amazed at the signs and wonders the Spirit will bring about, and say, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in the world.”

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