Daily Reflection – July 5, 2016
Tuesday 5 July 2016
First Reading: Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13
The house of Israel trusts in the Lord
Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:32-38
Today’s Saint: St Elizabeth of Portugal (Optional Memorial)
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said,
“He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”
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.”
Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. (Matthew 9:38)
Be careful what you pray for; you might be called upon to answer your own prayer! Or as one paraphrase renders the verse right after today’s Gospel, “The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields” (Matthew 10:1).
Intercession may be a very important form of prayer, but we need to remember that all prayer originates with Jesus and not with us. When a need strikes us, whether we see that need in the world, the Church, our neighborhood, or our family, we can be confident that this need is on Jesus’ own heart. He is the One who has opened our eyes to it and moved us to pray for this need to be met.
Sometimes we clearly know what to pray for: “Heal this sickness, Lord.” “Let food aid get through to this starving child.” “Give me the strength to make the right decision.” But other times we don’t know how to pray; we just sense that something is wrong and that we need to take action. The best thing we can do in these situations is to place it in God’s hands and ask him to act in whatever way he knows is best.
Intercessory prayer is a beautiful way to work with the harvest master, but it’s not the only way. As we pray for people, we can also ask, “Lord, is there something you want me to do for him or her?”
Jesus loves it when we bring people’s needs before him. It shows that we aren’t concerned only for ourselves. It shows that our vision is broadening to the world around us and that our hearts are becoming more like his. Jesus loves it even more when we roll up our sleeves and try to help the people we are praying for—again, because that’s exactly what he did for us. It may not always be easy. It may cost us some of our time and energy. But at the same time, it is very rewarding to work alongside Jesus, the master of the harvest.
“Jesus, thank you for the needs you are laying on my heart. Help me find the courage to take action as well.”