Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12; Psalm 105:2-7;Matthew 10:1-7
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:6)
Have you ever dreamed of being a missionary to some faraway, exotic place? You could travel the world and tell people about the Lord, while setting up hospitals and schools for those in need. But we all know how the reality of daily life keeps us anchored in one place. So much for missionary zeal!
Today’s Gospel reminds us, however, that missionary work does not begin with people halfway around the world. It starts with our next-door neighbors. We see Jesus telling his disciples to go to the people who look and act like them, people who speak the same language and share the same customs. Who knows? The disciples might have been on a first-name basis with some of them!
This is how God wants to work with us as well. He is calling us to go to the “lost sheep” in our neighborhoods. This does not lessen the call, and it by no means narrows your field of work. There are plenty of people in your own town who need friendship and comfort. Many have lost hope or been crushed by misfortune or economic hardship. Think of the young people struggling to find their way in life or the elderly widower whose loss of his wife has left him isolated and bitter. So many people! So much need!
You don’t have to learn another language or travel very far. You know many of the obstacles that these people are facing, since you probably face some of them yourself.
Today, ask the Lord to help you see the “lost sheep” in your own corner of the world. Ask him, also, to show you how to channel your desires and passions into missionary efforts. Maybe you feel a pang in your heart whenever you think about the lonely people in nursing homes. Maybe you feel a kinship with couples whose marriages are struggling. Maybe the cry of the homeless resonates in your mind. If you experience anything like this, it may well be the Spirit sending you out. He may be showing you your own special mission field!
Jesus tells each of us, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). How is he calling you?
“Lord, send me to your lost sheep today.”~WAU