Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-10:23
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ –Matthew 9:35-38
It strikes me that the church divided is like sheep without a shepherd. How can we possibly follow the same Master with diametrically opposing actions, attitudes, and beliefs? Each individual, each group thinks he or she or they are as right as right can be. Our battles with one another distract from Christ’s vision and our mission to attain it.
Sheep are by nature social animals. One of the first animals to be domesticated, they are often tended by youth. Jesus talks about one sheep going astray and the extraordinary steps the shepherd takes to bring it back into the fold. (See Luke 15) Our society seems to have lost the vision of the Common Good. We seem to have morphed into a mindset that if business profits are good, the economy will flourish and all will eventually benefit. Such theory does not take into consideration that businesses cannot thrive without a healthy, well-education workforce who live and work in a safe environment producing and nourishing the next generations.
Greed has become our shepherd leading us not into green pastures where we can thrive but into parched fields of weeds and thorns. While most of us will never experience great wealth or enormous power, we let their trappings dangle before us like forbidden fruit tempting us away from the loving Shepherd who wants only the best for each of us and all of us.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for turning away from you and wandering into deep darkness in search of wealth or power. Find us in our loss-ness and return us to your fold. Amen.