Readings for Wednesday July 6, 2011
First Reading: Genesis 41:55-57,42:5-7,17-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: Matthew 10:1-7
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Matthew 10:5-7)
In today's gospel we see a listing of the twelve disciples along with instructions from Christ for them to not go into pagan or Samaritan areas, but rather go after the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus' instructions make it clear that He has a strong interest in His own people, and that He wants them to hear the good news and to know that the Kingdom is at hand. While many of the Jews did not believe that He was the messiah; and while Christ knew of their hardness of heart and their stubbornness, He still felt it necessary to begin working on His own people first before spreading the gospel to the gentiles. Christ is the good shepherd, who goes and calls back all of His lost sheep and seeks to bring them back to His care.
These instructions are just as important for us today. While it is important for us to go out and spread the gospel to those who do not know Christ, it is just as important for us to make sure that we are helping and calling back the lost sheep within our own church. Think about in your parish, how many people are just going through the motions and are very lukewarm in their faith? We all know people who maybe come to Sunday mass once in a while, or maybe they don't even go at all. How many people do we know that are Catholic by association but live a very worldly life? It is these lost sheep that we need to somehow connect with and get them excited about their faith. We need to find someway to lead these people back to the faith that will give them new life and help them find their original purpose for living.
As followers of Christ, we have a duty and a mission just like the disciples did. We need to share the good news to all those we can, and we need to work to call back the lost sheep in our churches.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you and praise you for our lives and all that we have. Lord, help us to spread your name and your word in this world, help us the be the light in the darkness. Lord, many of our brothers and sisters have fallen away, give us the wisdom and courage to help bring them back. We pray for all of our youth, for their dignity and for their formation in the faith. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.