Daily Gospel – Wednesday, July 10, 2024 – Matthew 10:1-7 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Hosea 10,1-3.7-8.12)

Reading of the Prophecy of Hosea.

Israel was a lush vineyard and bore fruit for their consumption; to the extent of his production, he erected numerous altars; according to the fertility of the land, he beautified his idols. With a divided heart, he must now receive punishment; the Lord himself will tear down their altars and destroy their imitations. Surely they will now say: “We have no king; we are not afraid of the Lord. What could the king do for us?” Samaria is finished, its king is floating like straw on top of the water. The idolatry of high places, the sin of Israel, will be dismantled; there thorns and thistles will grow on their altars; then it will be said to the mountains: “Cover us!” and to the hills: “Fall upon us!” Sow justice among yourselves, and you will reap love; open a new field. It is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and pours out righteousness on you.’

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 10,1-7)

Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus called the twelve disciples and gave them power to cast out evil spirits and to heal all types of illness and disease. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon, the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who was the betrayer of Jesus. Jesus sent these Twelve, with the following recommendations: “You must not go where the pagans live, nor enter the cities of the Samaritans! Go, rather, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel! On your way, proclaim: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is next'”.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

How many of us have felt like a leafy vine, full of leaves and branches but without fruit? Or like a barren field, anxiously waiting for the rain that never seems to come? Today, the words of the prophet Hosea and Jesus’ call to his disciples invite us to reflect on our own spiritual journey and the calling that God has for each of us.

Let’s imagine for a moment a vineyard. Not just any vineyard, but the one that Hosea describes: a “leafy vine.” At first glance, she appears vigorous, full of life. Its branches extend, its leaves are abundant. But something is missing. Where are the fruits?

This image leads us to question: in our lives, are we just growing in appearance, or are we truly bearing fruit? How many times do we get lost in activities, commitments and even religious practices, without really connecting with the purpose for which we were created?

Hosea warns us about the danger of a divided heart. “Their hearts are divided; therefore they will be guilty.” How many times do we find ourselves in this situation? With one foot in faith and the other in the world, trying to please God and at the same time follow our own selfish desires. It’s like trying to serve two masters, something Jesus taught us was impossible.

But Hosea’s message does not end with condemnation. He gives us hope, a way forward: “Sow yourselves justice, reap the fruit of love.” What a beautiful image! Imagine a farmer, with his hands full of seeds. He knows that every seed planted has the potential to become a fruitful plant. In the same way, every act of justice, every gesture of love that we sow in our lives has the potential to produce abundant fruit.

And what are these fruits? They are the manifestations of God’s love in our lives. They are the patience we show in times of trial, the kindness we offer to those who offend us, the generosity we practice even when we feel scarce. These are the fruits of the Spirit that Paul mentions in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But Hosea reminds us that it is not enough to just sow. We also need to “clear the uncultivated ground.” It makes me think about the areas of our lives that we may have neglected. Those dark corners of our hearts where we harbor resentments, fears or doubts. It is time to bring God’s light to these areas, to till this hardened ground and allow the seed of God’s Word to grow there.

And how do we do this? Hosea gives us the answer: “the time has come to seek the Lord.” It is not a casual pursuit, but an intentional and persistent effort. It’s waking up in the morning and deciding to put God first. It’s taking breaks during the day to pray and meditate on the Word. It is to examine our actions and attitudes in light of the teachings of Christ.

Now, let us turn our gaze to the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus calls his twelve disciples and gives them authority to cast out unclean spirits and cure all kinds of illnesses and diseases. What an extraordinary calling! But realize, brothers and sisters, that this calling was not just for the twelve. It is a call that echoes through the centuries and reaches us today.

Each of us is called to be a disciple of Christ. Each of us has been given unique gifts and talents to be used in the Kingdom of God. You may not be called to literally cast out demons, but you are called to combat evil with good in your daily life. You may not cure illness with a touch, but your words of encouragement and acts of compassion can bring emotional and spiritual healing to those around you.

Jesus tells his disciples, “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Who are the “lost sheep” in our context today? They are those who have fallen away from the faith, those who feel rejected by the church, those who are struggling with doubts and questions. They are our neighbors, coworkers, family members who still do not know the transforming love of Christ.

Just as the disciples were sent, we are also sent. We don’t need to go to distant lands to be missionaries. Our mission begins at home, at work, at school, in our community. Every interaction is an opportunity to show the love of Christ, to be salt and light in this world.

But how do we fulfill this mission? How do we produce the fruits that God expects from us? The answer lies in Jesus’ central message: “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This is not just a statement about the future, but a present reality that we must live and proclaim.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not just a place we go after death. It is a reality we can experience and share here and now. It is a Kingdom of love, justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When we forgive someone who has offended us, we are manifesting the Kingdom. When we stand up against injustice, we are establishing the Kingdom. When we share what we have with those in need, we are expanding the Kingdom.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to be ambassadors of this Kingdom. In a world marked by divisions, hatred and selfishness, we are called to be agents of unity, love and generosity. In a society that often values having above being, we are challenged to demonstrate that true wealth lies in our identity as beloved children of God.

But we cannot do this in our own strength. Just as the vine cannot bear fruit without being connected to the vine, we cannot fulfill our mission without being deeply rooted in Christ. This is why Hosea calls us to “seek the Lord.”

This search is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. It’s like the farmer who not only plants the seed, but diligently cares for the plant, watering it, protecting it from pests, pruning it when necessary. In the same way, we need to take care of our spiritual life daily.

This means dedicating time to prayer, not only talking to God, but also listening to his voice in the silence of our hearts. It means meditating on the Word of God, not just reading it, but allowing it to penetrate deeply into our being and transform our mind. It means actively participating in the life of the faith community, not just attending masses, but truly engaging, serving, sharing our lives with each other.

As we do this, something wonderful begins to happen. That uncultivated land in our lives begins to be plowed. The seeds of justice and love that we planted begin to sprout. And gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, we begin to bear fruit. Fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

And these fruits are not just for our own benefit. Just as a fruit tree provides food and shade for many, the fruits of our lives in Christ are meant to bless others. Our words of encouragement can be the balm someone needs to heal a broken heart. Our acts of kindness can be a tangible manifestation of God’s love for someone who feels abandoned. Our peace in the midst of life’s storms can be a powerful testimony to the reality of God’s Kingdom.

Dear brothers and sisters, today we are invited to make a choice. We can continue to be a leafy vine, apparently full of life, but without fruit. Or we can accept God’s call to be fruitful disciples, ambassadors of his Kingdom.

The choice is ours. But remember: we are not alone on this journey. The same God who calls us also empowers us. He promises to send the rain of righteousness upon us. He promises to be with us until the end of time.

So let’s accept this call with courage and enthusiasm. Let us sow justice in our lives and in our world. Let’s explore the uncultivated terrain of our hearts. Let us seek the Lord with all our being.

And as we do this, we will see the miracle of spiritual growth in our lives. We will see transformation not only in ourselves, but also in those around us. We will see the Kingdom of heaven manifest in our everyday reality.

May we, at the end of our lives, hear the Master’s words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful in little, I will trust you with much. Come and share in your master’s joy!”

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.