It’s that time of year again - finals and graduation. Whether you are still in school or have long since graduated, the coming of summer is always welcomed. It is a time for rest and relaxation; a chance for us to renew ourselves, both physically and spiritually.
Aristotle said that what we learn to do, we learn by doing. This statement is as true today as when he spoke it. Now, coming from a barely A/B student, I will not stand here and tell students not to study for exams, especially since Jesus is giving one to His disciples and every one of us.
We must have a spirit of doing. It doesn’t have to be something big, but something. Don’t just talk about doing something - do it! Talk is cheap! Last week I saw a pile of sod laying by the roadside. My mother commented that unless something is done soon, it will not be any good. In today’s Gospel Jesus says, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few." (Mt. 9:37) We have been called to be treasured possessions of the Lord God. To maintain our status of "child of God," we must not be ashamed to go forward and do the Lord's work among our family, our relatives, our peers, our friends, our neighbors, and even our co-workers. In truth, it is not us who does the good works but rather the Holy Spirit who is manifesting the grace of God through us as humble subjects of Divine love towards others. We must allow the Holy Spirit to flow freely through us. We must allow the Holy Spirit to manifest good works through us by the grace of God.
Some may feel that this is difficult to do while being alone. Is there a necessity to do it alone? If you remember from today's Gospel Reading, the names of the Apostles were mentioned in pairs. First there was Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew. Then there was James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. Then, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus. Finally, there was Simon from Cana and Judas Iscariot. The pairing of the names of the disciples implies that they were sent in pairs to ministers to others. Surely, in pairs, all of us can find the courage and strength to minister in the name of the Lord Jesus. Mothers and fathers can minister to their children. Brothers and sisters can minister together to others. When my wife and I would speak of being a parent, we would often say that kids do not come with an instruction manual. But we learn by doing and by doing it together with inspiration from the Holy Spirit. What we don’t realize is that Jesus did give us a manual - the four Gospels and the scriptures. I’d like to stop and take a moment to wish all the father’s here a very Happy Father’s Day!
We must remember that the harvest is full and we are God’s special possession. On our journey through life, bishops, priests and deacons are called by God to point out how God has carried us on eagle’s wings, and proved his love for us through Christ’s death who reconciled us with the Father, as Paul reminds us in the Second Reading.
In the Gospel today Jesus felt sorry for the crowds because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd, so he sent out the Twelve Apostles with power to cast out unclean spirits and to cure all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. He said, "as you go, make this proclamation: "The kingdom of heaven is close at hand." Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out devils." Bishops, priests and deacons now continue that ministry of the apostles. We can all help some way. We may not be doctors but if we listen more and say less, we just may be able to help "cure" someone. Maybe someone is sick with a lack of self-esteem or just needs someone to lean on. Be there for someone. Let them know that you truly care and you will see that you don’t need a degree to heal a heart.
We may not literally raise someone from the dead, but we can raise their spirits. Everyone gets depressed over something every now and again. Do something to help show them that God is there for them and no matter how bad they think things are, God will help them through their difficult times.
Personally, I don’t know any lepers, but I do know some people who have been treated as such. Do you know anyone who has been cast aside? It could be for any number of reasons. Reach out to them and tell them that you care. Let them know that they are not alone in this world.
There are so many different forms of demons out there I don’t know where to start. Let me tell you about two men who came into the shelter to adopt a dog. They were looking at pit bulls. I had to leave for an appointment, but God kept me there. I pretty much knew why they were there for a dog and God wanted me to drive out a demon. I told them that I would not allow them to adopt a dog for fighting. Dog fighting is a terrible sin because it hurts animals and people. I made them leave and told them not to come back. Pick a demon and act!
Jesus’ heart was moved with pity. I am sure ours is too. Jesus acted. How many of us can say the same thing? Jesus gave us life and hope. This week, as Catholics who belong to the Body of Christ, let us reflect on our obligation to minister to others. Let us take the time to make a firm commitment to begin to do the Lord's work. May the grace of God ignite a burning flame within each and every one of us so that we may be counted among the much needed laborers. Discipleship comes alive!
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