In this week’s gospel we hear the disciples tell Jesus “Send her away…”. Of course, they are talking about a women who keeps pestering them and is not ‘one of them.’ This scene in which Jesus ultimately helps the woman because of her great faith raises a question that has faced the church over time. What is our mission as church? Who do we minister to? Only those who are in the church on a regular basis and maybe even others who come part time but are clearly of the faith? Or do we minister to those who have no faith or different beliefs – in short, do we evangelize? On the surface, the answers seems simple enough – of course we minister to all and try to evangelize the unbelievers. But how often do we truly take our faith out and share it with others, defend it when necessary, and stand by it even when it gets uncomfortable (think martyrs)?
As Vincentians, we too are called to share our ministry with all. We clearly know we minister to non-Catholics as well as Catholics. But what is our mission and do we provide our ministry without bias? Do we view those in jail differently than those not? Do we offer help to those who seem to think differently than us as readily as those who seem compliant? Are we only about providing immediate assistance or do we look for changes that are transformative and more complex?
Father, help me to be inclusive of all who have needs of all types as you bring them before me. Help me to not shy away from those who make me more uncomfortable. Give me the courage to expand my mercy without bias or conditions, seeking to bring your presence and healing hands into all situations. Give me the humility to recognize your presence in each individual and situation, and to respond with loving kindness. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen