From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
In this week’s gospel we hear the disciples tell Jesus “Send her away…”. Of course, they are talking about a woman 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? 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? Do we get caught up cataloging and categorizing everyone based on the moral codes of the day? Do we minister to those who have no faith or different beliefs? On the surface, the answers seem simple enough – of course, we minister to all and try to care for all who have needs. But let’s be honest – don’t we all think a little differently about the homeless person on the curbside, the guy or girl decked out with tattoos, or the ‘cripple’ with physical deformities. God calls us to care for all equally – but especially the vulnerable. We are called to evangelize them but how we treat them with our words and our actions. He calls us to stay true to the truth – the truth of Jesus Christ. 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 plead for God’s mercy for ourselves and those we minister to. We come in humble obedience through our prayer trusting in the mercy and goodness of God. We should proceed confident that Jesus will deliver for us if we but ask. Are we only about providing immediate assistance or do we look for changes that are transformative and more complex? We need to constantly push ourselves to do just a little more for all whom we serve even as resources become thinner and needs escalate. Do we have the faith and humility of the Canaanite woman – continuing to pursue help from Jesus even in the face of adversity? Do I bring my concerns, my needs, and my doubts and lay them at the feet of the Lord with confidence that He will provide what I need and what those I minister to need?
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