Tuesday, July 5, 2011

reaching out

today's Gospel Matthew 9.32-38

As I mulled over today's Gospel, it was difficult not to think of St Teresa of Avila and her prayer: 

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

In today's Gospel reading Jesus looks at the people and has compassion on them. He thinks they are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. He asks his them to pray for more workers.

Note that Jesus is impelled here by compassion. This isn't about his increasing his followers (or, by extension, we in the Church filling up our pews); it's is about giving people what they need. Lives where they are not 'harassed and helpless.' The harvest is not fuller churches; the harvest is the fulfilled lives of individual human beings. For that to happen it needs people to act, to reach out to each other.

And that is why Jesus tells his disciples to pray. So that more and more people will learn to live their lives reaching out to other in compassion and love. Because as St Teresa reminds us, we are Christ's hands on earth now.

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