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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

1st Reading (Isa 30,19-21.23-26): Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more will you weep; He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you. The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: «This is the way; walk in it», when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground, and the wheat that the soil produces will be rich and abundant. On that day your flock will be given pasture and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows; the oxen and the asses that till the ground will eat silage tossed to them with shovel and pitchfork. Upon every high mountain and lofty hill there will be streams of running water. On the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall, the light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater like the light of seven days. On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of his people, he will heal the bruises left by his blows.
Responsorial Psalm: 146
R/. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the Lord, for he is good; sing praise to our God, for he is gracious; it is fitting to praise him. The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; the dispersed of Israel he gathers.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars; he calls each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power: to his wisdom there is no limit. The Lord sustains the lowly; the wicked he casts to the ground.
Versicle before the Gospel (Isa 33,22): Alleluia. The Lord is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King; he it is who will save us. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 9:35—10:1.6-8): 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.”

Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

“Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Fr. Xavier PAGÉS i Castañer (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, a week into our preparation for the celebration of Christmas, we see that one of the virtues, which we have to work on during Advent, is hope. Not in a passive way, like that of someone waiting for a train, but active hope, hope which gets us ready to give all that is needed for Jesus to be born again in our hearts.

We can't be happy just thinking about what it is we are hoping for, we have to think about what it is that God hopes of us. He wants us to follow him, just like he did the apostles. He tells us through Isaiah: “This is the way, walk in it” (Is 30:21, today's first reading). God hopes of us that we will give witness, each one in his own particular situation and circumstances that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7).

Today's Gospel tells of how Jesus, in front of that huge crowd, felt compassion and said “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Mt 9:37-38). He has always wanted to be able to count on us, he wants us, in all our diverse circumstances to become real apostles of the world in which we move and live. The mission for which God sent his son to the world depends on us for its continuation. We find in our present day a mass of desperate and disorientated souls, thirsting for the Good News of Salvation that Christ has brought us, and of which we are the messengers. It is a mission, which has been entrusted to every one of us. Conscious of our weaknesses and our failings, we get the support we need from constant prayer and are happy that this way we can collaborate with the plan for redemption that Christ has revealed.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. This cannot be said without a heavy heart, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Pray for us so that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation.” (Saint Gregory the Great)

  • “The world is not a futile confusion of drudgery and pain, for all the distress the world contains is supported in the arms of merciful love. The person who celebrates Advent in this spirit will legitimately be able to speak of the joyous, blessed and grace-filled season of Christmas.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: ‘For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man’.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church Nº 456)