Faith Daily | 4 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent One
give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came among us
in great humility,
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 9: 35 – 10:8
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’
10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Carol Streatfield
A contentious passage at the end: sometimes the twelve chosen disciples could heal, sometimes not. Even Jesus could heal few in his own home town. Many people pray with their whole heart either for healing for themselves or for those they love. Many people throughout the world pray for an end to violence, rapaciousness, exploitation, starvation. The pain continues, their prayers apparently unheard or unanswered the way they thought Jesus promised. Unfeeling, and unscrupulous people might say these people doubted, they didn’t have enough faith. Didn’t Jesus accuse his disciples, when they failed, of being of little faith? What does this all mean?
Who knows? Undoubtedly, there are times when people have been touched by God in healing or helpful ways. There are other times when it seems that they have been given the opposite of what they felt they needed, but it has been a blessing even so. Some people have ‘healing hands’, others the knowledge of how to heal. Does all of this make it any easier to interpret this passage? Which passages can be taken at face value and which need a deeper interpretation? Are the terms in this passage, sick, demons, lepers, dead, metaphorical? These questions are the life of the Christian disciple. Perhaps all we can do is to trust, respond with an open heart of deep, loving compassion, and to pray for self and others as Blaise Pascal does:
FINAL PRAYER: Blaise Pascal
I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death;
but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life
and my death, for your glory/
You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master;
do with me according to your will.
Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours.
I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you.
Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything.
I know not which is most profitable for me, health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world.
That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden
among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.