I am sure you have felt sorry for someone at one time or another. Maybe even for yourself.
The situations some people find themselves in can be painful and difficult, even unbearable.
Jesus in the passage from Matthew 9:36-10:8 feels deeply for the crowds because they were harassed and dejected. He is concerned not so much about teaching them at this time but about how their situation can be remedied. He needs others to help him, to be instruments of mercy and healing. He summons them and they are called by name. We are presented with all the names of the Apostles. We are reminded that each of us is called by name to play our part.
Yesterday, Archbishop Paul Martin was installed as the new Catholic Bishop of Wellington. He has been called to take on the responsibility of church leadership in the diocese but of course he can't do it alone. On reflecting on Paul's new role, we can't help but think of Cardinal John Dew's previous leadership and his years of tireless service. I am sure both Paul and John are only too aware of the incredible service and ministry of so many others that respond to God's call that enables the church to reflect and witness to the mercy and compassion of Christ and the kingdom he came to announce. We can pray for Archbishop Paul that he cling close to Christ in his ministry for those entrusted to his care and give thanks for Cardinal John as he continues to live out his call to service in this new stage of his life.
As we focus on Christ today feeling sorry for the crowds and what they were having to face in their lives, we can only be inspired by his response. He believed another way was possible and faced it head on and he enabled others to believe in the possibility too. It would have been easier to turn away and do nothing given the scale of the problems and needs.
Good people who refuse to be embittered by what they see around them and who refuse to be overwhelmed by the scale of the problems they see are a physical and tangible presence of the kingdom of God close at hand.
I know we don’t always get things right and we are dealing with our own stuff, but we need to affirm the privilege it is to be called by Christ. With a sense of joyful trust, respond to those who cross our path harassed and dejected and proclaim through our words and presence that the kingdom of God is close at hand.
Blessings on your week.
You may like to listen to 'Why do I?' track 7 from 'Under Southern Stars'