Seed and Sower Too

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

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
(Matthew 9:37-38)

God came to heal and exorcize,
And proclaim pardon to sinners;
Then gave His life as sacrifice
That we may all come out winners.

Jesus went around to all the towns 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 felt pity for them, because they were troubled and helpless, 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 harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 9:35—10:1,5a,6-8)

Reflection

At the time when our Lord started His earthly ministry, He saw the negligence of the Jewish religious leaders in failing to lead the Chosen People of God according to the laws laid down by His Father through Moses and the prophets. Moved with pity for them, He cured all their infirmities, and taught them His values and the true way to righteousness. Then Jesus picked His leaders from among them, and sent them as His first laborers to the harvest. As the prophet Isaiah prophesied in our first reading today, “He will send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.” (Isa 30:23) The ‘seed’ that Jesus sowed were the apostles, and they brought in a rich harvest for the early church.

Like the apostles, we are also called to be sown in the marketplace, and at the same time be God’s laborers at the time of the harvest. As seed we are to bear much fruit by spreading the Word of God; as laborers we are to serve the Lord in our renewal communities, and win the marketplace for Christ. Just as seeds cannot be planted until they are fully mature and prepared, neither can we serve as God’s laborers unless we have been properly initiated and trained for the job. This is one important reason why our spiritual formation is so emphasized in our Christian community.

We celebrated a rich harvest of eight couples who finished an important module in their membership formation, the week-end Christian Marriage Retreat last week at the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo retreat center in Matina Aplaya. All the members of the service team were treated to heart-warming expressions of deep gratitude from all the participants who experienced a unique brand of marriage vow renewal, which they said they would always treasure as cherished memories. We told them to offer their thanks and appreciation to the Lord above, as all the members of the service team enjoyed the three-day event as much as they did. Besides, without cost we had received the same care from those who had come before us, so it followed that without cost, we also gave back to them the blessings that they deserved.

Grant, O Lord, that we may never tire or grow lukewarm in our mission to bring others to Your fold, so that the laborers in Your vineyard may increase, and Your message of salvation spread throughout the land. Amen.

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