WHEN WE’RE WEARY & SCATTERED
(Monday, June 19)
This Monday morning I am so grateful to read today’s Gospel-passage, which reminds me of *how* the Lord looks on all of us, when we’re weary and scattered, like sheep with no shepherd: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with *compassion* for them, because they were weary and scattered/cast away (ἐρριμμένοι), like sheep having no shepherd.” (Mt 9:36)
Does Christ see us as useless, in this state? No. He sees us having great potential, like a “plentiful harvest,” as He says next to His disciples: “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Right after this, He summoned all the twelve disciples and “gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” (Mt 10:1)
Now, having been compared to “sheep” and to a “harvest,” we might think of ourselves as passive subjects, needing to be “gathered” or “saved” by someone else. We do, indeed, need to be “gathered” and “saved” by the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, but this does not mean we remain passive in the whole business of our salvation. The disciples were also like scattered wheat and sheep, who would not have been empowered “over unclean spirits” and “to heal,” had they not been called together to do so, by Christ, – and had they not responded to His call. Being called “sheep,” by One who Himself is called “a sheep, silent before its shearers” (Isaiah 53:7), and to be called a “harvest,” by One who calls Himself “bread” (made of harvested wheat), is not un-dignifying, nor a passive kind of vocation. We are meant to become nourishing to others, as are sheep and harvested wheat. We are also meant to be empowered, as were the disciples, by His Spirit, to cast out “unclean spirits” – from within ourselves, and then from others; and to heal both ourselves and others, by His grace.
Let us get busy doing that, as we begin the second week of the Apostles Fast, especially if we have been experiencing feelings of uselessness or self-pity, or feeling “weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” We have quite a Good Shepherd, Who dignifies each of us not only with His *com-passion* (or suffering “with” us on our cross-carrying journey), but by calling us to realize our great potential, when we let ourselves be gathered up into communion with Him: “And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us,” I say this morning as I pray the First Hour, “and the works of our hands do guide aright upon us, yea, the work of our hands do guide aright.” (Ps 89/90:19)