Hosea 8:4-7,11-13, Ps. 115:3-10, Matthew 9:32-37 

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” (Matthew 9:36-37)

When Jesus saw the massive crowd approaching in today’s Gospel passage, his heart was moved with compassion. The situation of the crowd in today’s Gospel passage is no different from the situation of millions of people all over the world today who constantly face harassment and helplessness.

For instance, in our society today, we are like sheep without a shepherd; we have people in power who have betrayed the trust of ordinary citizens and now use that power to sponsor and encourage terrorism, ethnic cleansing and religious violence. Innocent lives are being lost and we are told to either give up our lands or face death. Catholic priests, who many look up to as Fathers for support, spiritual help, and temporal assistance, have suddenly become the object of sponsored terrorism.

Jesus saw all of these and referred to them as harvest and at the same time noted that this particular harvest lacks sufficient labourers. God wants to intervene but He needs people. And we are the labourers. Visit the sick, help the poor, clothe the naked, and make efforts to convert a sinner. God is inviting you to labour for Him. If you are in a position to help salvage the spate of attacks on catholic priests, please do something. Labour in this harvest for God.

Too often, we turn down God’s invitation because we feel overwhelmed like one trying to empty an ocean with a cup. Mankind’s problems are too many but then, by failing to do the little we can, we contribute to the problem. Jesus did not solve all the problems in the world but He did His best. He touched lives. He made good use of His power and authority. Matthew tells us Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching, proclaiming the good news, and curing every disease and sickness. You too can do something.

However, know that if you decide to work for God, people will hate you, they will try to discourage you by spreading false tales about you. Imagine the Pharisees claiming that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of demons! If you seek to please people in this life, you will never achieve anything but if you seek to please God, no haters will ever stop you from fulfilling your destiny.

In our first reading, Hosea describes the all-too-common situation of people who claim to be labourers but are not. He says, they have multiplied altars but at the same time, they have multiplied sinfulness. “The Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.” (Hosea 8:13). What kind of a labourer am I? Am I winning souls for Christ or destroying every atom of religion in them? People can be deceived but God cannot be deceived. It would be better not to labour at all in God’s vineyard than to become the wolf in sheep's clothing. 

Let us pray: Lord God, give me the grace of sincerity and truth in my calling and empower me to labour generously for your kingdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Tuesday of week 14 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Hosea 8:4-7,11-13, Ps. 115:3-10, Matthew 9:32-37)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu