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The compassion of Jesus

Gospel Reading: Mt 9:32-38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

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.”

The healing of the deaf person is the final healing story in this section of Matthew. The details are sparse. A man who is possessed by a demon and thus ill (the Greek word for illness can signify that he is deaf, mute, or both) is brought to Jesus. The demon is cast out, and the man shows that he is healed by speaking (cf vv 32-33).

Matthew’s primary interest appears to be in portraying the two opposite reactions to this healing (and by implication, to the whole string of Jesus’ mighty works in chapters 8-9). The crowds, who have been following Jesus since the beginning of his ministry, exclaim in amazement, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel” (v 33).

The Pharisees, however, accuse Jesus of being himself under the power of demons: “He drives out demons by the prince of demons” (v 34).

We, the present readers, know much better. In Jesus’ mighty works we see that the wineskins have now burst, and the new wine of the Kingdom is flowing across the land, irrigating the parched fields and preparing the way for the great harvest of God.

At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart is moved with pityfor them because they are troubled and abandoned.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.