9 July – Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and his companions, Martyrs
Soldier. Escorted Saint Gabriel John Tauin du-Fresse to Beijing, China during his missionary work. Convert to Christianity. Priest. Worked in the Sichuan apostolic vicariate. Arrested for his faith and his work. He died in prison. One of the Martyrs of China.
– The Patron Saint Index
Jacob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.
And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.
Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.
A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
Ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest
Today’s gospel strikes me because it shows how something good can be misconstrued as something evil by people who are afraid of what is new and different. Jesus drove out the demons from a mute man and he spoke. This is a miracle but the Pharisees responded saying, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” They do not recognize the holiness and divine nature of Jesus. Similarly when we do good in this world, we are sometimes misunderstood. Such misunderstandings may hurt us but like Jesus we should not be discouraged. Instead, we are to continue doing good even in the face of misunderstanding.
When Jesus went around to the towns and villages, curing diseases, “his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd”. He recognizes that there is a lot of need for the healing hand of God among people. Yet “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” We need to work with God’s power, and be his hands and legs, so that all of humanity can be touched by his word and his holy healing power. We cannot just depend on God without doing anything, because we are responsible for making His presence felt on earth.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for being the master of the harvest, and for all the good things in this world.
Prayer: I pray that the Spirit of truth will give me courage at times when it is needed the most.