Pray, Pray, Pray

Scripture Reading

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness. 
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.
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.” 

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go 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.”
(Matthew 9:35 to 10:1, 5-8)


Scripture Study

9:37 the laborers are few: Anticipates the following narrative, where Jesus chooses the apostles as laborers to shepherd the “lost sheep” of Israel (10:6; cf. Jer 23:4; Mt 15:24).

10:1–11:1 The second major discourse in Matthew (see outline). Jesus selects twelve apostles and delivers a “missionary sermon” before sending them to the surrounding Galilean villages and charging them to preach that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (10:7; cf. 3:2; 4:17). Jesus confers on the apostles the same authority of healing and exorcism displayed during his early ministry (10:1, 8; cf. 4:23, 24; 9:35).

10:2 the twelve: Jesus chooses 12 patriarchs, like the 12 sons of Israel in the OT, to carry out his mission (Gen 35:22–26). In doing so, he designates the Church as the restored Israel (cf. 19:28; Gal 6:16). apostles: The Greek term apostolos means “one who is sent forth” (cf. 10:5) and invested with the authority of the sender (cf. 10:40). See chart: The Twelve Apostles at Mk 3.

10:5 nowhere among the Gentiles: Jesus sends the apostles only to the Israelites of Galilee (10:6). This reflects the orde and direction of salvation history. Since God adopted them as his “own possession” (Ex 19:5) and lavished them with privileges (Rom 9:4, 5), it was appropriate that they first hear the New Covenant gospel (cf. Acts 1:8; Rom 1:16). After Jesus’ Resurrection, the apostles are sent also to the Gentiles (28:18–20; Mk 16:16; CCC 543). See note on Mt 4:12.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel, taken from the magnificent tenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, is a portrait of the Church. It shows us what Jesus wants his followers to do and how to do it. We are a missionary Church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Christian Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit. Rather, it is like seed that we are meant to give away.

We do this work together, with others, in community. Ministers need people to support them, pray for them, talk to them, challenge them. Francis of Assisi had an experience of God and then, within months, gathered people around him; Dominic, from the beginning, had brothers in his work. Mother Teresa attracted a number of her former students to join her in her mission. We don’t go it alone.

And prayer is not incidental to ministry. It is not decorative. It is the life-blood of the Church’s efforts. Without it, nothing will succeed; without it, no ministers will come forward. At all points, pray, pray, pray.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 




[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 23–24.