The gospel today provides a tremendous snapshot of the mind and heart of Jesus. First, it speaks of casting out a demon so that a man who was mute can now speak. Secondly, we see Jesus’ itinerate and mobile desire. He travels about teaching, and proclaiming the kingdom. Additionally, he is healing people and curing diseases. Ultimately, this is who Jesus is. He is the one who takes that which is broken or not right and restores it. He has the ability to make things right. That is why he is the righteous one. Not only is this what Jesus does, this is how Jesus sees himself and who Jesus is. With this being Jesus’ mission in life, he is going to become quite popular. After all, he is giving people free health care. Isn’t this quite attractive?
The powers to be begin reacting against him. Jesus’ popularity is escalating. They attempt to discredit him through something everyone is afraid of, the reality of evil. This is an ingenious idea. The religious leaders know that if they can simply spoil Jesus’ popularity, they can easily take power away from him. They can not take away the power or authority that Jesus has received from his Father. They can, however, discredit Jesus, diminishing the power and authority that the populace give him. This old tactic is frequently used in contemporary politics. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus will address this discrediting comment made to him. However, here in Matthew’s gospel Jesus purely focuses on his mission and continues on. Why? Matthew tells us why; because the harvest is abundant and the laborers are few.
Is this still true today? Is the harvest still abundant? What is this harvest that Jesus is talking about? Is it different today in the twenty-first century than it was in the first century? How is it different or the same as the harvest in any other century in church history? As the church continues to grow in it’s global awareness, is the harvest of the global church different from the harvest of your local parish? Today, I would invite you to think about this concept of harvest. Keep in mind, Jesus’ mission is to restore that which is broken. Secondly, Matthew says that Jesus sees people as, "troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd". Jesus invites you into this mission today. What is your response?
Fr. David Colhour, C.P. is the pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Louisville, Kentucky.