Tuesday in the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time 

What is something that turns your stomach?  Something that makes you feel physically unwell, just from thinking about it?  Today, we get an insight into what turned Jesus’ stomach, from the Gospel of Matthew.  See if you can catch it:

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,  teaching in their synagogues,  proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,  and curing every disease and illness.  At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them  because they were troubled and abandoned,  like sheep without a shepherd.

You may have missed what gets lost in translation.  The Greek verb used for “his heart was moved with pity” is splanchnizomai [say that five time fast!].  The verb comes from the noun splanchnon, which means “inner organs, entrails or viscera.”  In other words, the pity that Jesus had for the lost sheep was no superficial “ohhhh, how sad,” followed by a click of the tongue and a return to a nice, easy life.  Instead, the compassion Jesus felt for those in need moves him from the inside out.  Luke uses the same verb in the story of the Prodigal Son, when the father sees his long-lost son returning to him.

Our faith calls us to see the world’s needs with the eyes of Christ.  But tolive as Christians means that, at times, we will feel the pains that Jesus felt in the pit of our stomach.  The question, then, is simple: How do I respond?

Then he said to his disciples,  “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;  so ask the master of the harvest  to send out laborers for his harvest.”

July 9th, 2013