More thoughts on Evangelization #2… 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 gospel = Matthew 9:34-38

Sheep without a shepherd…Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.
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.
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.”
     It seems to me that the picture given here in the gospel is quite helpful – “they” are troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew portrays Jesus as the Teacher & Physician who comes to heal illness made manifest in being troubled, abandoned, and lost.  This is a different portrayal of those ‘outside’ the Christian / Catholic faith that I often hear.
     Second, it seems like disciples are to pray for others to help with harvest, not to plant seeds.  In other words, God is already sowing, giving rain and growth, and waiting for disciples to gather the harvest.  It sounds like the view of St. Ignatius of Loyola that God is and has been active in the world, that the world is not bereft and abandoned.  Rather, given the divine presence, we shoot ourselves in our proverbial foot and end up troubled and abandoned.
     Third, how do disciples who are also troubled and abandoned and like sheep without a shepherd evangelize others?  I know people who are absolutely sure of their opinions who also struggle with trusting God and receiving the gospel message of Christ.  I am coming to believe that this is where adult Christians can begin to evangelize other adults:  I do believe.  I resist.  I stray.  I seek.
–roc,sj

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