Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Matthew 9:36 - 10:8

"like sheep without a shepherd".

That is how the people of Jesus' time appeared to him – "harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd” – people burdened with problems and worries, without vision, meaning or purpose in life. Jesus looked on them with compassion and have himself to them. At the same time he saw beyond them, to the immense and future harvest of people in need, and he summoned others to help him to reach out to them. Such people are with us still – people lost in a world without spirit; people aimlessly wandering through life; people yearning for peace and happiness; people craving for answers to an inner restlessness that material possessions and endless entertainments have failed to satisfy.

Our generation has witnessed the most momentous advances in learning, in access to information, in technological skills, in exploration of seemingly infinite reaches of outer space and of the most minute complexities of DNA. Truly amazing progress! And yet it is accompanied by ever growing numbers suffering from stress and depression, by increasing dependence on alcohol and drugs. There was never so much opportunity to enjoy material comfort, exotic travel, and countless sources of entertainment, excitement, and distraction. And yet more and more people than ever complain of the emptiness of their lives.

They are part of the rich harvest for which Jesus expressed concern and for whom he wanted labourers. They have a right to hear the Good News that we are made in the image of God, and intended for union with God, that there is a 'space' in every one of us that only God can fill, that we cannot but be restless, as St. Augustine says, until our hearts find rest in him. Do we need to ask “whom shall he send?”