Mt 9:32-38 When Much Is Given
(Click here for readings)
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…like sheep without a shepherd.
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t Catholic or a priest! God can be so hard on me!
While reading today’s first reading, I noticed how God is constantly reminding the Jews to be loyal and faithful to Him. He’s tough with them; all the time! And it’s not just in today’s reading; it’s a constant theme in every reading! Why doesn’t the Lord pick on the Assyrians? Why doesn’t he harp on the Egyptians? Why does he leave them alone and not his own?
The same is true of Jesus. He is constantly criticizing the Pharisees, the scribes, the elders and the chief priests. Why? Why doesn’t he pick on someone His own size? Why doesn’t He go after the Romans? Why doesn’t he say something to them? “Hey Caesar, did you ever try being gentler with your enemies? Pilate, did you know there’s a better way to deal with criminals than to just crucify them?” Nope. The Lord remains quite silent with them. In fact, he doesn’t like to deal with them, unless they need His help. Instead, the Lord prefers to pounce on his own. He is constantly going after his own. Why is that?
Where much is given, much is expected! I would never expect an elderly man to help me carry boxes. I would expect a young man to carry an elderly man’s boxes. I would never expect a crippled man to help me move things into my home. I would expect a healthy man to help a crippled man move his things into his home. To whom much is given, much is expected. I would not expect a young man to have all the right answers. I would expect an older man to ask all the right questions.
We are Catholics. Much is expected. Very much is expected. It’s not an easy life. It’s a lot of work! It’s not as easy to lead as it is to be led. It’s not as fun to be the Shepherd as it is to be the sheep (unless it’s being led to the slaughter; and even in that case, we, the Shepherds, would have to go first!!!). We just don't seem to ever get a break!
Just once, wouldn’t it be nice to lie like the rest and let your conscience get away with it? I’m not talking about a little lie…Nooooo! I’m talking about a BIG TIME LIE! Just once, wouldn’t you like to think of yourself first? Wouldn’t it be great to serve just yourself, just once? Wouldn’t it be great to abandon all your responsibilities, justify all your crimes and punch out an eye or a tooth? Oh, how wonderful it would be to kill your enemy, destroy their reputation, and knock out the lights! Wouldn’t it be great to get away with murder?
But this is not for us. Our God talks…and hears and sees. “Our God is in heaven; whatever he wills, he does. 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…”
Well then, what about God? Shouldn’t we expect more from Him??? Shouldn’t we expect peace on earth? Why not? After all, to whom much is given, much is expected! What does the Lord have to say about that? Like I said before, our God speaks…loud and clear: If you desire peace then forgive those who offend you; love those who hurt you. If you offer a drink of water, you offer it to me. If you do this, then good will triumph over evil.
But you need to do this first, if you want to see what happens next.
Idols don’t speak, but their makers do. And what they say is hardly new. In fact, they keep refurbishing the same old arguments that keep repeating the same old conflicts. You would think by now we would have learned our lessons. You would think by now we would change our allegiance. You would think by now we would all look for a new and unique leader!
Plenty of sheep, few shepherds to follow. The Lord has given us plenty: plenty of opportunities, plenty of graces, plenty of sheep. Let’s break from the crowd and start leading today.