Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Father John Doyle, LC
Matthew 9:35-10:1, 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,
“The 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you, the Lord of heaven and earth. Lord Jesus, I trust in your goodness and tender concern for my good and the good of every single person on this earth. Lord Jesus, I love you and wish to cooperate more fully with you. I am such a poor weak instrument, but I know that you can do anything through those who trust in you.
Petition: Help me Lord, to know the mysteries of your Sacred Heart and to respond with love.
1. The Heart of Christ: “His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus is our creator and our redeemer. He knows that what we seek is his friendship, whether we realize it or not. He knows that only he can satisfy our innermost desires. We need to be moved with compassion at the thought of Jesus’ pain, wounded by so many souls who refuse to turn to him, our only source of light, life and happiness. Do I ever consider how Jesus’ heart needs to be consoled because of the indifference and rejection of so many souls whom he loves infinitely?
2. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” There are so many souls in need of healing and so few to help Our Lord with building his Kingdom and saving souls. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to the harvest.” Christ is calling us to help him in this mission. We cannot be indifferent to the cries of our brothers and sisters who do not know the truth and who have not experienced God’s awesome love. We must be convinced that Jesus is the only answer for their yearnings. Do I pray often to the Lord of the harvest? Do I realize that I am also called to be a laborer in the Lord’s harvest?
3. Go to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel: Jesus sends us out although we feel weak and helpless. Can we “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons?” Isn’t there someone else, Lord? No. Christ calls us for the same reason he called the first apostles, namely because he chooses the weak to show that he is in charge. “Apart from the vine you can do nothing” (cf. John 15:5). But united to him, we will bear much fruit. Trust in him especially when we feel our own weakness and incapability. For, as the apostle St Paul, reminds us, “There is nothing I cannot do in him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), and “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Conversation with Christ: Oh Lord Jesus, I want to respond to the longings of your heart. You have loved us to the point of dying on the cross for us, and we repay you so poorly. You deserve our grateful, loyal love, but so often we abandon you. I want to console your Sacred Heart by helping to bring many souls back into your friendship. I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem; however, I do not feel worthy or up to the task of being your apostle. Help me to cooperate with you. Help me to soothe your longing to heal us and care for us. Here I am Lord, to do your loving will.
Resolution: I will go before the Blessed Sacrament today, intensifying my union and friendship with my Risen Lord, and ask him to send more holy, priestly vocations for his Church.