Saturday of the First Week of Advent

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Gospel: Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5A, 6-8

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.”

Reflection

Go out into the public and cure the sick, find the lost sheep, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Faith, the free gift of God, the abundance of which is unknown is the foundation for the disciples.

Gathering the flock can be a difficult area, people’s faith has been tested, people’s faith has eroded, people’s faith has been challenged, the world has changed, beliefs have changed, and people seem to no longer see the possibilities of the Kingdom before them.

Preforming works that cure people may seem hard but it is done in many ways, medical cures, advances in mental health and emotional health are happening because people had faith in their sciences, many of which were also people of faith. In one of my favorite movies, Bernadette of Lourdes, the mason (interestingly laid the foundation rocks) had an eye injury and said it was cured by the waters. The local doctor said he was a fool, there was no change so what was the cure?  I see the cure as an emotional, mental cure from sorrow and self-pity to do again what he did before. Sorrow changed to joy and self-pity changed to being able to figure out how to do what he was trained to do. If you will pardon this explanation, he changed how he viewed the world. He was infected by the Spirit of the Lord!

When I was growing up, I remember a Lutheran Church’s marquee that said “Is your faith like Brylcreem, does a little dab do you?” What is your faith like?  Do you look outside to find it or are you able to see the light of Christ inside? Christ is both within and without. Christ’s light can help you see, Christ’s love can help you heal, and revealing Christ from within can help other’s see the light which will bring the sheep home. Letting the light of Christ shine will in turn will help you be the disciple to cure (help) the sick, light the way for more to find the light of Christ within them, and help people to focus once again on the Kingdom of God.

I pray for each of you and all who participate in the American National Catholic Church. I pray that each of you becomes a beacon of Christ’s love, light and peace.

– Fr. Michael Lalone

Action Step:

How do you heed God’s call to “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons”?  Perhaps a friend or a family member needs your support and encouragement.   This may be your opportunity to become a beacon of Christ’s love.