Reflection on Matthew 9.32-38 (DEL Week 14: Tuesday; Ordinary Time)

A reflection for 11 July 2023 on Matthew 9.32-38 (DEL Week Tuesday)

Matthew 9.32-38

A demoniac who was mute was brought to Jesus. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, ‘Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.’ 

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ 


The Pharisees said: By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons. 

To betray family, friends, employer or country – to commit an act of treason – is commonly considered to be one of the worst crimes we can commit. Despite the heinous nature of this crime, it is one that has constantly recurred throughout human history. Sometimes the act of betrayal is seen as trivial, as in the telling of that which we describe as a ‘white lie’, but often the effects are life-changing, whether at a personal or a national level.

As Jesus walked this earth those amongst whom he lived were, on a daily basis, confronted with the inexplicable. His acts of healing and his miraculous signs were far beyond the understanding of first-century intellectuals. They were acts of divine power that the religious authorities of the day could not equate with the religious laws and practices which they promulgated. It was the conclusion of those intellectuals that Jesus must be working his wondrous signs through the powers of evil. Of course, this was nonsense. To dispel evil with evil is to betray, and therefore weaken those evil powers. Jesus’ power was rooted in something so much stronger than the devil and all his works. Jesus’ power was the power of God come into this world.

We often condemn that which we do not understand out of hand. We accuse people of betraying us because they are not acting or speaking in a way we can readily comprehend. Even when they are working acts of kindness and love we impugn their actions as being evil. Just like the Pharisees in today’s reading we accuse rather than accept, we condemn rather than give thanks, we revile rather than rejoice.

In today’s reading we see Jesus walking amongst the people and seeing their need for a closer relationship with the God who offers them miraculous healing and peace. We also read of Jesus’ call to join the army of labourers who might bring that healing and peace into the lives of the needy and wretched.

Let us pray that we might set aside our propensity for betrayal and the honouring of human wisdom, and that we might go forward in faith, bringing the reality of Christ’s power into the lives of others.