JULY 6. Ord Time B. Wk 14. Tue. Mt.9 32-37
Updated: Sep 10
A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
Today’s Gospel reveals the mind of Christ’s critics and how confused and illogical they are as when he performed miracles; - such as casting out devils in this instance; - the Pharisees said; - ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
This is in marked contrast to the people who observed the miracle who were “amazed” as ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!’
The Pharisees acknowledged openly that Christ was casting out evil spirits, or “devils”, and then they alleged it was because Christ was in league with those same devils? How frustrated he must have been at this ridiculous response to his miracles by the leaders of his people?
Christ, by his miracles was demonstrating, beyond doubt, he was from God and yet people, both then and now, refused to believe! One has to ask the question, “Why?”
The answer, clearly, is because of the implications of becoming a “believer” or “follower” as that would involve a complete change of lifestyle; - where one would have to submit one’s own life, desires and plans, to the teachings of Christ!
And is this not still, in the twenty-first century, the fundamental reason so many people still refuse to believe in Christ’s teachings, or the teachings of his Church. In essence the cause is Pride and Self-love where we put our own will and desires before the Will of God.
And it is not just non-believers who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ or his teachings; - but many who profess to be believers, and who constantly “water down” the teachings of Christ and his Church; - because they “interfere” with their preferred way of living!
But as today’s reading shows, while he must have been immensely disappointed in this type of response, it did not deter Christ from continuing with his Mission and we are told after this confrontation he continued his work; - “Making a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues; - proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness!”
And the reading bears witness to the sentiments in Christ’s heart when it tells us while he was preaching; - “He felt sorry for the people because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd,” so he said to the disciples; - “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
His response to his critics was to focus on his mission and continue to preach the Truth!
Gospel Acclamation Jn10:14
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
First reading Genesis 32:23-33 Jacob wrestles with God
Jacob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.
And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.
Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.