Read Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26, Ps. 147:1-6, Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8

“You shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teacher will not hide anymore.” (Isaiah 30:19-20)

In today’s Gospel passage, Matthew tells us: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36). The word compassion is a fusion of two Latin words, com (with) and passio (passion; suffer). To be compassionate is to literally suffer with someone, that is, to be able to feel the pain that person is experiencing. As our people would say, compassion is “taking medicine for another person’s headache.”

In truth, there is nothing wrong with taking medicine for another person; this is exactly what God did for us by taking our flesh. This is the joy of Christmas. We serve a God who is compassionate; a God who suffers with us, a God who can never forget us. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

It is one thing to feel pained over someone’s plight but a different thing to lift your hand to solve the person’s problem. Most of us stop at the point of compassion, we feel sorry for the person; we even cry but we fail to help.

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus went beyond compassion; He saw they suffered from the darkness of ignorance so He preached to them. Jesus saw they were sick and possessed of all kinds of demons; He went about healing them. Jesus saw that He alone could not minister to the millions of people around the world; He started a worldwide movement by calling and commissioning the twelve.

One of the excuses we give for not helping people is feeling overwhelmed by the number of people suffering or in need of our help. We often say to ourselves: “Where do I start? What impact will I even make?” Jesus came to save the whole world and He had only thirty-three years to live on earth out of which thirty were spent in preparation. Today, the work Jesus began is still changing lives.

The good you begin today, no matter how small, could snowball into something great; it might even outlive you. Know that even if it is only one person you help, it will mean the whole world to them. Search your heart, you can hear God calling you. Just as Jesus appointed the twelve, He wants to do something through you. God does not work in a vacuum; He works through people.

Don’t underestimate yourself. You are not too young, not too old, not too rich or not too poor. In your own unique circumstances, you have a part to play. Like St. Francis Xavier we remember today, you too can be God’s instrument to extend His care and love to the world. 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, deepen my faith in your love and care for me. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Francis Xavier, Priest. Bible Study: Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26, Ps. 147:1-6, Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu