“When he saw the crowds, he was moved to compassion (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη) for them, because they were harassed/wearied (ἐσκυλμένοι) and helpless/cast away (ἐρριμένοι), like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Mt 9: 36-38)
So, the whole bunch of us, like the “crowds” that Christ saw back then, are “harassed/wearied,” or, as we could say in contemporary terms, “stressed out.” We are also “helpless” or “cast away,” in our modern-day, disorienting and painful sense of not really “belonging” to any one identity and community, tossed to and fro in the tumultuous sea of disparate cultures and communities, to which we are constantly exposed in our globalized, Internet Age.
But how does our Lord see us? As He saw us back then, with “compassion.” He also sees our potential and readiness to be useful, as a “harvest” that is “plentiful.” Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest today, that we all be sent, and recognize, the “laborer/s” who can help us toward usefulness to Him and others, according to our specific potential and vocations. Because none of us, actually, are “sheep without a Shepherd,” but we do, from time to time, need one another’s help to find our way to Him, after we have wandered off into all sorts of stress and helplessness. And that kind of help does come to me, often through “laborers” in my immediate vicinity, when I am open to being helped, and remain teachable.