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Tuesday, July 6, 2004

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St. Maria Goretti

Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13
Psalm 115
Matthew 9:32-38

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an honest life's work

Jesus "said to His disciples: 'The harvest is good but laborers are scarce. Beg the Harvest Master to send out laborers to gather His harvest.' " —Matthew 9:37-38

In chapters eight and nine of Matthew's Gospel, we hear about a healing and deliverance tour on which Jesus took His disciples. The tour began with a healing of a leper (Mt 8:3). Jesus healed two paralytics (Mt 8:6; 9:7) and Peter's mother-in-law (Mt 8:15). He healed two blind men (Mt 9:30) and a mute person (Mt 9:33). He even raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mt 9:25) in addition to several other healings and deliverances. At the end of the tour, Jesus' disciples were understandably impressed by the authority and power of Jesus and probably wanted to go on another tour.

However, Jesus had a different idea. The tour was not intended for spectators but for workers receiving on-the-job training (see Mt 9:37). Jesus expected His apostles and the members of His Church to imitate Him. So He commanded His apostles and His Church: "Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift" (Mt 10:8). Eventually, Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father. He made it very clear that we, the members of Jesus' body, the Church, are left to complete the work of God's plan of salvation. As St. Teresa of Avila stated, God has no other mouths than ours, hands than ours, feet than ours, etc. The Lord insists on us working in the harvest. "Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation" (Phil 2:12).

Prayer:  Father, may my faith and love motivate me to work for You as hard as You want.

Promise:  "Our God is in heaven; whatever He wills, He does." —Ps 115:3

Praise:  Although St. Maria's life was short, her example of purity and holiness still inspires and leads many young people back to God.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003