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The Healing of a Mute Person and the Compassion of Jesus
Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
As they were going out, a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him, and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in your power to cast out all that is not of your kingdom. Help me to respond to your invitation to build your kingdom in the hearts of all people.
- Two Kingdoms: The Gospel today reminds us that there are two kingdoms waging battle. Or better said, there is one real kingdom–God’s– and a false kingdom hopelessly attempting to usurp God’s kingdom. Even the Pharisees acknowledged the spiritual forces at work in the world. They were closer to faith than those whose vision remains horizontally focused on the material world alone. Faith, far from being unrealistic, is the keenest vision of reality that a person can have. Through it, we become aware of what is at stake in the life of every human person—slavery to Satan’s lair or liberation in the kingdom of God.
- The Harvest: Jesus works to establish his reign in the hearts of those who will come to believe in him, but he chooses not to do it alone. He knows that faith is passed on by testimony, and desires more disciples—laborers for the kingdom of God. Who will join him? It takes courage to enter this battle. Sometimes we will be insulted for being a laborer for God. Our Lord wants to hear how we feel about being his laborer.
- Heart of a Laborer for the Kingdom: On the optional memorial day of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr, we are reminded that life circumstances make us disciples if our hearts are properly centered on the Lord. Maria lay bleeding to death after being viciously stabbed by a family friend. She endured this trial to guard her purity. Her response to her assaulter, Alessandro, revealed Christ’s heart incarnate in her own. He looked upon his people as sheep without a shepherd, troubled and abandoned. Maria did the same and uttered words of forgiveness before taking her last breath. How will we have the courage to stand with Christ, to manifest his heart of compassion even for our persecutors? Only by remaining in Christ!
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to belong to your kingdom, to be free to live in the light of truth and the joy of your love. Grant me your heart that I may build your kingdom here and now through compassion, mercy, charity, and forgiveness.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be aware of the subtle temptations that lure me to the enemy’s kingdom, and look for opportunities to build God’s kingdom through forgiveness.
For Further Reflection: Forgiveness, Dr. Robert Enright.
Written by Jennifer Ristine.