Paying Forward

Matthew 9:35—10:1,5a,6-8
Isa 30: 19-21,23-26 / Psa 147

Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
(Matthew 10:8)

God came to heal and exorcize,
And proclaim pardon to sinners;
Then gave His life as sacrifice
That He might save all believers.

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.” (Matthew 9:35-10:1,5a,6-8)

Reflection

Through the ages, the Church that Jesus established on earth has grown, and many martyrs and saints it produced have gone on to claim their eternal reward prepared by the Lord for them in heaven. But the work of evangelization and conversion of souls on earth continues, with the ripened fields growing faster than the Church can recruit laborers to bring in the harvest. Everyone worth his grain as a Christian has the primal obligation to save a soul aside from his own. It is not only for our family that we are required by God to establish the foundation of their faith as our only responsibility. We must also lead others to Christ, especially the neighbour who doesn’t care to read, much less own a bible, or the officemate who can’t give up a sinful activity, or even a brother or sister in our group who might be experiencing doubts about his/her faith or the doctrines taught by the church.

When we consider the blessings of faith that we now enjoy, are we content to just sit back and relax, and let the others find their own way in the dark? Didn’t Jesus tell us when we were enlightened by the Word, “You are the light of the world… your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”? (Mt.5:14, 16). Didn’t we receive this gift of faith without any cost, when once upon a time a brother or a sister in our community invited us? Or when we experienced the call to conversion through some divine intervention? How much have we paid forward for this privilege that we have received? How much have we shown as appreciation for our salvation in terms of declaring ourselves for the Lord?

Eternal Father, thank You for inviting us to Your kingdom. Thank You for all the lessons that Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ imparted to us in Holy Scriptures, and for all Your promises that give us hope for eternal life. Forgive us, dear God, for the times when we failed to seize the opportunity of leading others to You. Grant us Your Spirit to speak out for our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may truly be worthy of bearing His Name. Amen.

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