Pondering over the scriptures for this 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the themes of God’s love and mercy, being alert to God’s voice calling to us through the actions and circumstances of daily living, and the faithfulness of God for His own people struck me forcibly.
God’s love and care is evidenced in Exodus, Psalm 99, and the opening lines of the Gospel passage. Moses went up to God and the Lord called him, reminding Moses of God’s goodness to them in the past, and making a promise that they shall be God’s very own. “I will count you a Kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.” The psalm confirms how good God is, that “God’s merciful love is eternal and that God is faithful from age to age.”
In all circumstances we are challenged to trust that God is with us to the end, and will always provide for us. Realizing this gift, we can be filled with joyful trust in Him through Jesus Christ.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and sent them out. Why? To do the work He had done, but not without giving them authority over unclean spirits to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. Jesus also gave directions of where their ministry was to be carried out, and finally what that ministry was – “to proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.” The Apostles were cautioned that the gifts they needed for their ministry were freely given and that they were to give without charge.
The Scriptures this week are both consoling and challenging. It’s consoling to know that God’s mercy and love are freely given and are always available for the asking. Jesus told the twelve that “the harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.”
The challenge is to see God’s grace around us, to hear God’s voice within us, and welcome God among us. Perhaps, then, we might go forth in hope with thanksgiving for one’s gifts to live the Gospel of love, joy and peace with those we encounter daily.
Therese Lenehan OP