Hope in His Healing

Matthew 9: 32-38
Gen 32:23-33 / Psa 17:1-3,6-8,15

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, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because a demon had possessed him. When the demon had been cast out, the man began to speak; 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.” 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 reading from Matthew gives us a number of lessons to be learned in the life and mission of our Lord Jesus. We can see the various reactions to His works, as well as the attitudes of people whose lives were affected. 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, however, 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 in Jesus 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 that their faith was sorely wanting, stifled by their narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy. Instead, 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 for those in desperate straits. When one of the brothers in our community suffered a stroke, and his family was unable to raise the needed funds for his medical bills, many of our members took up the challenge to help, contributing generously to the fund, bringing hope to his young wife, who was able to pay their hospital bills.

“The harvest is bountiful, but the laborers are few…” Our Lord has also mandated us to be apostolic—not to be dumb, but to spread the Good News of the Gospel to other Christians, especially those who have not yet established an intimate relationship with Him. In this case, our Brotherhood’s Christian Life Program will answer that call this coming Saturday in its first day’s seminar, and we fervently hope that this opportunity will bring in a good harvest. Please help us pray for this intention.

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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