Sent by the Power of God

June 18, 2023
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

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.” Matthew 9:36–38

This passage from today’s Gospel begins by revealing to us the Heart of Jesus. His Heart is one that is “moved with pity.” As Jesus looked at the crowds before Him, He could see that they were “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” The sight of them evoked compassion, concern and mercy from within Him. This is a beautiful image to prayerfully ponder.

As Jesus looks at you, He gazes at you as He gazed at the crowds long ago. As He does, the same depths of mercy and compassion are evoked within His Sacred Heart. Sometimes, when we think of God, we allow ourselves to have inaccurate perceptions of Who He is and how He sees us. If you do not regularly see the compassionate Heart of Jesus, then ponder this passage and know that His Heart of love for you is the same as it was for the crowds.

The second part of the passage above reveals to us one of the ways that Jesus reaches out to us. He is the “master of the harvest” Who has called others to Himself and then sent them forth to minister in His name and with His authority. The lines that follow the Gospel quoted above tell us that Jesus immediately “​​summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.”

As you look at your own life, your struggles, your spiritual needs and your desire to grow in faith, how has God fed you? Through whom has He spoken to you? This shepherding will take place by your participation in the Mass, through the Sacrament of Confession, through holy preaching, through the written word, through the inspired witness of another, and in many other ways. What’s helpful to ponder is that any time you have encountered the grace of God through another, it happened because the Master of the Harvest chose to send a laborer to you. When good fruit is borne in your life, it was God Who initiated that good work through another, out of the mercy and compassion of His Sacred Heart.

Reflect, today, upon the image of Jesus gazing at you with love and choosing to send His ministers to you in His name and with His authority. Pay special attention to how God has been speaking to you recently. If it is through a particular book, keep reading it. If it is through a certain preacher of the Gospel, keep listening. If it is through a certain conversation with a friend, spouse or loved one, keep talking. God loves you, has a Heart full of compassion for you, and will continue to reach out to you in many different ways, especially by sending others to you in His name.

My Lord and Master, You seek to bring forth an abundant harvest of grace in my life. You continuously inspire others to act as instruments of Your love and speak to me through them, calling me to Yourself. May I always be open to the many ways that You come to me, and may I always receive Your holy Word through the ministers You send to me. Jesus, I trust in You.