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Scripture Reflection - June 18, 2023

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ex. 19:2 – 6a | Romans 5: 6 – 11 | Matt. 9:36 – 10: 8

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

“Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for the harvest.”

The harvest of our Catholic faith is played out in the liturgical year. We have feasted on a Spring of seven weeks of Easter, Pentecost, The Holy Trinity and The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. These observances nourish us throughout our lifetime. And now in the return of Ordinary Time, the focus is on Jesus and his life and works. In the three-year cycle of readings there is a possibility of what we hear repeatedly lies dormant in the mind and spirit, and as life changes, so must we ponder new meaning in familiar passages from scripture.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gives a directive to the twelve and to us: “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Those with agrarian background or gardeners are fully cognizant of the labor involved in harvesting. Whether it be wheat, apples, broccoli or flowers, from preparing the soil to harvesting at the right time, labor can be intense.

But Jesus is not referring to crops, he is telling the twelve to go out and multiply. The Hebrew prophets were called by God to respond to the need for conversion of minds and hearts. Obvious in every age, people go astray from God’s will and need prompting and reminders of a long history of fidelity from above and negligence from those below.

Is there a chance that some sitting in the pews or as many are now doing watching Mass will think about a vocation of full-time service to follow as the twelve did? Is there a possibility that listeners could take on a mission of direct service to heal the wounds ever present in society where cruelty and apathy cause destruction of God’s creation and world peace?

At the sight of the crowds, Jesus heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned like sheep without a shepherd. With a crisis of moral leaders in the world, a decline in religious vocations, and active participation in all religions, it is essential that we discover a way to respond to planting seeds of peace in order to feed the world around us.

As Hosea wrote: “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to love one another, to walk humbly with God.

Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, OP


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