(Part 167)


December 5, 2015

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 9:35-10:8

Our work in CFC-FFL and LCSC is the work called for by the New Evangelization in this third millennium. It is the very work that Jesus did, which is the very same work that we need to do today. “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.” (Mt 9:35). These were the all-important works of formation, evangelization and total human liberation. It is work that is to be done in all towns and villages, to the ends of the earth.

Because this is the very work of God, because the grace of Jesus is fully available, because God’s workers will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, there can be expected very effective and fruitful work. However, because God depends on human instruments for this work, then, due to our own sin, weaknesses and misplaced priorities, the extent and effectiveness of the work are compromised. Just as it was in the time of Jesus, so it is in our time. “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (Mt 9:37). We need to pray for more workers, “so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Mt 9:38). More importantly, we ourselves need to respond. And we need to get many others to join us in what should be a massive work.

We ought to see what a great privilege it is to participate in God’s own work. Jesus commissioned his “disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.” (Mt 10:1). We are given Jesus’ own authority. Jesus is the only one who can defeat Satan, but he enables and empowers us to engage the enemy and triumph over evil spirits. Jesus is the healer, but he uses us to bring wholeness to those who are ill physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually.

Now the New Evangelization has a special focus on the lost sheep, those Catholics who are lapsed and inactive. “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mt 10:6). We need to put our own house in order first, in order to be used by God powerfully to reach all others. And in the work of evangelization, the first part is to proclaim the gospel (kerygma). “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Mt 10:7). With proclamation, people meet Christ and get to know Christ. From there they start to live Christ. Then they themselves participate in the work, as they share Christ with others. One who has met Christ and is starting to live Christ must share Christ with others, recognizing the great gift that they have been given. “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Mt 10:8b).

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