Today's readings are so interconnected that this is a rare Sunday where I can very briefly speak to all three. In the first reading from Exodus God reminds the people of Israel and us that we are precious in His eyes... He reminds us that we are "A kingdom of Priests a Holy Nation". We have a special relationship with God and therfore we have a special relationship with each other.
The second reading goes even farther. To make his point St. Paul says " It is rare that a person should die for a good man, but God died for us while we are sinners" broken, unrepentant... that's how much we all of us are loved.
In the gospel Jesus moved by his love, "moved by pity" for the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd sent forth the apostles.. That's what the word apostle means one who is sent. He sent them out the heal, to instruct and to give hope. and he reminds them to give freely, give without cost, because we have all received without cost. God's love has been free.
You know, our thoughts, our feelings our perspective, all flow from our experience, In the past few weeks my thoughts my feelings and even my perspective have been really influenced by my visit to Tanzania. It has caused me to pause and to think and to reflect on my life and my our experience here. The experience itself was a gift and certainly a challenge from God.
I have come to see that God loves all of us but not all of us are blessed in the same way. All of us do not share the same gifts. There are those who are blessed with a comfortable life. There are those who must struggle all of their lives. In Tanzania the life expectancy is only 50 years old. The women carry water on their heads and people walk for miles to bring their simply products to a market. From any perspective Their's is definitely a much harder life than ours
From those blessed with material possessions God expects that we keep our abundance in perspective that it does not assume such an important place in our life that it distracts us from Him and our brothers and sisters. All that we have been given is meant to be shared is meant to be used to bring people home to God. "From those who have been given much much is expected.
Those who have been given so little their lives are meant to challenge us to generosity. Their hardship and their need should move us to pity should challenge us to love like Jesus was moved to send out the apostles.
As I reflected on these reading I kept coming back to central question, how do we who are precious in God's eyes view the poor who are also precious in God's eyes, what place do those blessed with less, have in our lives?
How do we view the sheep without a shepherd that we see over and over again on our streets? Do we see them as a bother, and inconvenience? Do we see them as somehow at fault for their circumstances. Do we look down on them or are we moved by pity or love to be a positive influence in our lives. We must never forget that all of us here at this Mass are God's apostles, all of us have been sent by God to those in needs....
Remember the Gospel calls all of us to give without counting the cost because that is how we received all of our blessings...
Does that make you nervous ? it makes me nervous.