After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Walk down any thoroughfare in a major city and you’ll surely run into people who today might be classified as “demoniacs,” the poor, the addicted, the unwell. At the same time, you’ll likely pass by hundreds of people glued to their phones, blissfully ignoring the troubled people around them. In many ways, they are today’s “sheep without a shepherd,” wandering and “helpless.”
Over the past year, I’ve had the good fortune of participating in Loyola University Chicago’s Labre Ministry, a student-led homeless outreach ministry. The students have taught me a lot about how Christ would approach today’s demoniacs. They often draw crowds, who are shaken out of their routine by the sight of a student and a person-experiencing-homelessness becoming friends. At Labre, at least, the laborers are many.
How might you respond like Christ to the demoniacs you encounter today?
—Jake Braithwaite, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Northeast Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Christ has no body on earth now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world; yours are the feet with which he walks to do good; yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
—St. Teresa of Avila