“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.” (Matthew 10:1)
Jesus asked us to pray that God may send labourers into the harvest. In today’s Gospel passage, we see Jesus commissioning the twelve giving them authority over unclean spirits, diseases and infirmity.
As much as we pray for an increase in vocations, we must never forget to pray for an increase in Grace for those who have answered the call already. A labourer without energy (power) is like a very hungry farmer on very fertile land, he has the seeds but cannot dig and plant. He needs to eat in order to produce food for many others. Like the proverbial shoemaker who was so busy mending people’s shoes, that he forgot to mend his own shoe and suffered from a wound which prevented him from mending other people’s shoes, priests and religious are ever in need of our prayers.
It is instructive to note that in mentioning the names of the twelve, Matthew deliberately puts Judas Iscariot last and adds the phrase “who betrayed him.” What kind of labourer am I? A Judas or a Peter? Am I a James or a John so eager for positions? Or am I Andrew who acts only in the background quietly bringing people to Jesus and never taking centre stage? Am I a Thomas whose faith is limited to what his eyes can carry? Am I a Philip or a quiet Thaddeus who likes to do things low-key? Or even, am I a Matthew with a very disturbing past?
The point is that none of these labourers was perfect. Never look down on yourself because the rich harvest of God’s vineyard neither requires already made Saints nor does it asks only for the talented, the outspoken, the educated, the influential or the technologically driven. So long as you are empowered, you too can labour for God.
The authority (power) is more important than the person. A traffic controller wearing his vestment on a busy road can stop heavy trucks a hundred times heavier than himself all because the authority was given to him by the state. It doesn’t matter who is wearing that vest, his authority is what controls cars. So also, a labourer is able to do so much only when he has Divine Power.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, you empowered your disciples, renew your Holy Spirit in me every day that I may not grow weak in your vineyard. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Bible Study: Hosea 10:1-3,7-8,12, Ps. 105:2-7, Matthew 10:1-7)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu