Today’s 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.”‘
In the Gospel for today we see Jesus on a mission. He preaches about the Kingdom, heals people, proclaims that the harvest is ready, and calls the disciples to pray for more laborers to bring in the harvest. He also gives his twelve disciples authority and power, sends them out, and empowers them to grow the kingdom with the power of Jesus. Yet the mission that they were called to, as all of us are now, is not merely a list of things. As disciples of our Lord, we are all called to a particular spirit or ethos while we carry out the principles of our faith: “without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Jesus reveals another important part of discipleship and a focus for Advent: having a generous heart.
As God has freely blessed us, so we too should give freely. We are called to carry out the mission of our vocation with a generous heart, free from selfishness. We should not count the cost and expect payment for the things we do for those we are called to love.
“Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God, teach me true generosity. Teach me to serve you as you deserve. To give without counting the cost, to fight heedless of wounds, to labor without seeking rest, to sacrifice myself without thought of any reward, save the knowledge that I have done your will. Amen.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Therese of Calcutta said, “Love doesn’t measure, it just gives.” In marriage we can be tempted to do things on a merit basis. “I will do this for you if you do this for me.” Or if someone in the relationship is failing to contribute, their spouse may meet them with resentment or withhold the love due in marriage. But in biblical marriage we cannot keep a mental account of how many times we have cut the grass, done the dishes, changed the diapers, paid the bills, helped out around the house, or worked all day at the office. For love to be love, we cannot compare our list of contributions to what our spouse has or has not done. The question is not, “how can my spouse help out more?” but rather “how can I serve more?”
Three things to do:
- Quietly in your personal prayer today, give to God your lists of things you have done or wish your spouse had done. Surrender it to Him. Give to Him any complaints you have crafted in your mind and perhaps shared with your friends, and ask God to increase your faith and love and give you a heart that is generous, kind, and ready to give without counting the cost.
- Take a minute today to think about all that your spouse has done for you and thank them specifically for those things.
- In prayer, think about all that God has given you and thank Him for those gifts.
“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”