A Shepherd’s Love

Matthew 9: 32-38
Gen 32:23-33 / Psa 17

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
(Matthew 9:38)

The situation is never hopeless
When faith in Jesus is brought to bear;
Remember God’s mercy is boundless,
Our Shepherd’s love is beyond compare.

As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to Him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. At the sight of the crowds, He 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 plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:32-38)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel of Matthew reveals to us a number of lessons about the mission of our Lord Jesus, the different reactions to His works, as well as the attitudes of people that affect their lives. First, let us reflect on the attitude of the people who came to Jesus bringing a demoniac. Just like the synagogue leader and the woman with a lingering hemorrhage in the Gospel reading yesterday (Mt. 9:18-26), we see here again that to people of faith, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. In this case, it was the friends of the demoniac who had not given up on him. They came to Jesus because they believed that He had the power to cast out the evil spirit from their friend, and they were not disappointed. Their faith saved their friend.

The general reaction of the crowds that witnessed this exorcism was one of marvel and amazement. “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But this was not so with the Pharisees, the so-called “shepherds” of Israel. Their reaction to the miracle showed their total lack of faith, their narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy, and their hopeless situation. They had chosen to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, saying, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons” rather than believe that this was the work of God. Because of this, our Lord took pity on His people, as He saw them “like sheep without a shepherd.” In their seemingly hopeless situation, Jesus saw Himself as the fulfillment of the prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy: “For thus says the Lord God, I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep” (Ezek.34:11-12). So He went about all the towns and villages, preaching about the kingdom, and healing all kinds of infirmities.

Jesus teaches us here that we too must have the charitable attitude of a Christian. The recent floods in our city has aroused the compassion of many in our community for the unfortunate victims, many of whom lost their entire possessions and even their loved ones. We are also mandated to be apostolic– to spread the Good News of the Gospel to other Christians, especially those who have not yet discovered a more intimate relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. In this case, our Brotherhood’s ongoing Christian Life Program for thirty participants has answered that call, and we thank the Lord for this opportunity to be involved in His harvest.

We praise and thank You, Father God, for showing us the way to follow our Lord, Jesus Christ, in showing mercy to the less fortunate, and in bringing hope and the Good News of the Gospel to others who are also seeking the way to You. Amen.

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