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July 11, 2018: St. Benedict, Abbot

Reading Hosea 10:1-3,7-8,12
Gospel Matthew 10:1-7

“Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Today’s Gospel passage speaks about reaching out to those who are hurt and sick. We hear Jesus sending his twelve apostles to go out and heal “every disease and every illness.” More than just a prophet, Jesus has authority not only to call back the repentant to Himself, but also to heal them.

When Jesus sends the apostles, His instructions are for them to go to “the lost sheep of the House of Israel”. In our own day, there are many fallen-away Catholics, and of course we pray for them. But we can do more for them than just pray. With the sort of love that Jesus held in His Sacred Heart when He looked at the crowds and said, “the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few”, we can reach out to those who have fallen away from the Church.

We can offer gentle instructions to those who don’t know how to start again to live the Faith: to begin again to receive the sacraments, the gifts of grace which come to us through the apostles and their successors. It’s the bishops’ responsibility—and the responsibility of those priests who work under their bishops—to bring lost sheep back into the fold through the sacraments. But often, it will be ordinary Christians who point those lost sheep in the right direction.