Reflection on Scripture Eleventh Sunday Gospel A Called to discipleship

By 11:19 AM

 Eleventh Sunday Gospel 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. 

· The phrase, sheep without a shepherd, recalls several Old Testament passages that describe God's people as sheep neglected by their shepherds (I Kings 22:17; Jer. 23:1-6; Ezek. 34:1-10; Micah 5:2-4).  God said that he would shepherd his people and provide true shepherds for them.

· Do we share in the compassion of Jesus for those who do not yet know the full gospel message?  How do we reach out to them?

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." 

· What are we doing to respond today to this word of Jesus?

Then he summoned his twelve disciples 

· The number is significant since it links the chosen disciples to the twelve tribes of Israel and indicates Jesus' authority from the Father to call all Israel into the promised kingdom.

and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. 

· They were commissioned to perform the same activities in his name that Jesus engaged in his own ministry: proclaiming the good news and curing the sick. The third aspect of Jesus’ ministry that of teaching is not conveyed to the disciples until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The names of the twelve apostles are these:

· The word “apostle” means one who is sent. Very appropriate here since Jesus is sending them to proclaim the message of the kingdom.

first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. 

· In all the lists of the apostles, Peter is always listed first to indicate that early on the faith community recognized Peter’s primacy among the twelve.

· Jesus chose men from opposite ends of the spectrum: Matthew a tax collector to Simon, the zealot. In other circumstances the two could not be in each other’s company for the zealots hated the tax collectors who were Roman puppets.

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. 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. 

· The initial missionary endeavor of the twelve was to Israel, not yet to the Gentiles, just as Jesus’ initial proclamation was to the chosen people of the covenant, primarily the towns in Galilee.

· We are called by Jesus to do the same as the twelve: to proclaim the message of love and to cure. the sick in his name. What are we doing to fulfill these two aspects of our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ?

· What does it mean: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give?” How are you responding to the truth of that statement?

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