Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5A, 6-8
And 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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, 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.” And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.”
During Jesus’ public ministry, He encountered so many people from different walks of life. The one thing they all had in common was they were all lost. They didn’t necessarily have true faith, but were all in need of healing, from disease and illness, to blindness and deformity; they all wanted physical healing to believe. Because Jesus is true man, in addition to being true God, He knows and understands real human emotion. He was moved with pity because of all of the people who did not know who to follow. The Gentiles were shunned by the Jews, the unclean Jews thrown outside the city or Temples – no one was holy enough by the standards of those who were supposed to lead the people to God, the Pharisees and chief priests. Even today, we may feel abandoned by our Church who give special advantages to the privileged or led astray by priests who preach the ways of the world and not God’s Word.
Jesus called His Twelve disciples and gives them the authority over unclean spirits and cure diseases and illnesses. He then sends out the Twelve, telling them, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” What wonderful power He gave to them, but more importantly, they were first to preach the Word of God to show the people that is where their power is from. This is why we must pray for our priests. They are the ones God has called and asked to go out and Proclaim the Word of God. The Apostles are also supposed to do this all without cost (vow of poverty), that God will provide their needs. If they took payment for curing or raising the dead, then they would be no better than the fortune tellers and black magicians.
Still today, we are lost sheep looking for a Shepherd. Jesus sends out His priests to spread the Word of God, and “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” We too are given similar words as lay Apostles at the end of every Mass, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”
Lord God, please bless all of our priests, especially our Pope Francis, our Bishop (insert name) and parish priests (insert names). Help them to always preach your Word alone, and help us to spread their message we receive during Mass. I ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.