Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 7
May Each of Us Respond to the Divine in Our Own Lives, Becoming Christ-like Examples of Love and Charity in Selfless Service to One Another.
“His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” – words which we find in today’s Gospel.
I have mentioned this before in previous meditations, but I am sure that most of us remember hearing stories about the different cults which have cropped up at one time or another – the gatherings of entire families who were starving for spiritual nourishment, innocent men and women who hung on every word spoken by some charismatic leader, who knew how to feed their hunger with words of hope, words of encouragement.
Please do not misunderstand me – far be from me to give credence to cults which were founded under questionable circumstances, for many ended sadly in disaster. And the ones that come immediately to mind are Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre in the South American country of Guyana, and David Koresh and the Branch Davidian sect which ended in death in Waco, Texas. And there are many others too numerous to mention, which also ended very sadly.
But what many of the followers of these charismatic leaders and others had in common was a deep-seated desire, an overwhelming hunger to reach out and touch the Divine, a great interior need to be fed spiritually.
Even though these followers were terribly misled by those who claimed to be prophets, seers and messiahs, these men and women followers, many whom I am sure were innocent victims, were “like sheep without a shepherd” – wandering, searching for anything which would satisfy their spiritual hunger.
And the Gospel tells us today, “At the sight of the crowds, [Jesus’] heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned…”
And so it was in the days of Hosea the prophet. The Israelites, seduced by false prophets and unholy leaders, were wandering, as if through a desert, seeking out anything that would satisfy their spiritual hunger, even if it meant embracing idolatry and worshiping stone idols.
In doing so, God was not pleased with their forms of worship! As a result, He sent them prophets to constantly remind them of the One True God who loved them as a Father loves a child.
For those of us who have been touched by God’s gift of faith, for those of us who have chosen to embrace this gift – a gift freely offered and freely given by a God who loves each and every one of us beyond human measure – we are called to be faithful, just as He called out to His chosen people long ago.
For those who recognize the True God in our midst today, who have not turned to forms of idolatry in our daily lives, we have been seized by the Divine and we do not wish to let Him go, for we recognize the Eternal Gift for who He truly is!
We have come to know and believe that our God is a God of Love. He is a God who only wishes to fill us with His peace. He is a God who desires that we return His Love in such a way that we place Him first and foremost in our daily lives, placing into practice and truly living His teachings here on this side of Heaven – thereby insuring our eternal life at His side in His Kingdom.
When we look around us at the direction in which today’s society is traveling, when we become witness to the many seductions to which our youth is being constantly subjected by today’s culture on a daily basis, I can only imagine that our Lord looks at us today with the same sad expression, and with pity in His Heart, as He did long ago –
Governments across the world are endorsing wholesale distribution of artificial birth control items to young children; society in general has openly endorsed a culture of death, whereby the rights of the unborn are not recognized, and, in some countries, abortion becomes a form of birth control which is used to regulate population growth and gender selection.
Wholesome family values have been diminished to such a point that even same-sex attractions and life styles are now taught to our children in many of the educational systems throughout the world, and many governmental institutions are embracing and legitimizing same-sex marriages. And in some countries, even the rights of the sick and elderly are frowned upon, to the point where euthanasia is being more openly practiced and encouraged.
And we hear in the words of our psalmist today the idolatry which is embraced by many peoples in the various cultures of today’s world –
“Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men. They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; They have ears but hear not; they have noses but smell not. They have hands but feel not; they have feet but walk not. Their makers shall be like them, everyone that trusts in them.” – forms of worship which are anything but true worship of the One True God.
And I am sure that each one of us could continue to elaborate on this very distressing list which runs counter to God’s will for His children! As a sad consequence, when all is “said and done”, we find that there are many in today’s world, even those who call themselves Christian, who are confused by all that is unfolding around us and feel “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.”
As I have written over the past eleven years in previous meditations, each one of us, by virtue of our Baptism into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is called to give witness to God’s Truth. By virtue of our being members of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, we are each called to reach out to our brothers and sisters in a non-judgmental way, by loving and caring for each other as Christ loves us.
Our Gospel ends today with our Lord delivering a brief but sobering commentary on the hunger which persists and is oftentimes all-consuming in the hearts and souls of those who seek to reach out and touch the Divine, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
We are each called, no matter what our vocation in life may be – married or single, layperson or cleric – to be extensions of Christ in the world, to be a holy example for others to see and follow, even if our efforts only impact one soul at a time.
God does not expect each of us to do great things. He does not expect us to be missionary evangelists, reaching out to make a difference in the world.
But with what He has given us, and with the gifts and responsibilities that we do have, God does expect us to do the little things in our lives that can make a difference, and that we do them with a sincere and heartfelt love. For it was Saint Mother Teresa who was once quoted as saying, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”
May each of us, with a selfless love and an unselfish giving of ourselves, serve the Lord and each of His children whom He has placed in our lives with an open heart and a willing soul; so that, with the help of His grace, we may assist in the building up of His Kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
And may each of us become Christ-like examples of love and charity in service to one another. For it is in the virtue of charity which we give to others that you and I will be able to respond to the Divine in our own lives with a truly open and willing heart! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
- “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
- “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’” (Matthew 9:37-38
- “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
- “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” (Hebrews 13:16)
- “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” (1 John 5:3-4)
- “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” (John 12:26)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Glorious Savior,
We humbly give to You our lives;
do with us as Your Divine Providence wills,
for Your greater honor and glory.
“Make our lives useful to Your service.
The only ambition we have is to humbly
and honestly fulfill Your Divine will.
In this, we wish to lift up Your Name Jesus, not ours.
“We desire to make known the power of Your Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Divine Love and Truth.
We want You to claim us for Yourself,
and use us according to Your Divine purpose.
“And no matter the task
which You assign to us in life,
we will be contented, and full of joy,
to fulfill our purpose as disciples of Your Spirit.
“Jesus, may Your Holy Spirit live in us always,
guiding us to live a virtuous and fruitful life,
always pleasing to You and helpful to our neighbor,
as we help to build up the Body of Christ.
“Fill our lives with meaning and our hearts with hope.Anonymous
And when our time here is complete,
bless us with eternal life in Your Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus, we humbly pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”