“Jesus needs helpers” by Mary Bridget Dunlea FMA

“Jesus needs helpers”                                 Reflection for 3 Sunday of the Year

Last May, I went to Rome for a Course. Arriving in the Airport in Rome I soon realised that there were many people travelling apart from me. As I neared the carousel to collect my baggage, a lady stepped out of the milling crowd and said, “You are the Irish Sister who was on Television yesterday.” Before I could say anything she continued, “You were on Salesians Ireland yesterday. Your smile gave me great courage when I needed it most.”

My immediate thought was, “If  you only knew” – yesterday was a very stressful day for me. An important packet which I was supposed to take to Rome had not arrived as planned and I was worried, annoyed with the person who had forgotten. Suffice it to say that it did come another way.

That for me sums up the Liturgy of the Word we use today.  Darkness and light! Darkness and call!

Jesus left His home in Heaven to come among us as one of us – sent by His Father, because we needed care and compassion; healing and teaching.

When John was imprisoned, Jesus came to take his place – the people needed a Saviour. They needed teaching and care. Then, Jesus needed helpers for the job.  He just said, “Come. Follow me.”

Jesus knew the needs of the people, then. He knows the needs of the people now. He also needs helpers to do the job.  In our families, in our places of work, in our neighbourhoods, there are needs. You may be the only one who notices the need. It is in the small things that we are challenged – someone needs to be listened to; this person needs a helping hand; I could give a bit of time to so- and- so. In my heart, Jesus says to me, “Come! Follow me. I see the need. I want to reach out through you.” Where do I stand on this? Do I say, “Not I, Lord, surely.”

Each of these calls is specific. It has to do with persons, events, issues. Each one has to do with struggles and graces. St. Paul in the Second Reading was very clear about the big work God had for  him to do,  “God  did not send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News.” Each of us can be sure of the life – commitment we have been called to, but, for all of us, it is in the small things that love challenges us. God speaks to people through our actions, through our words, through our living, as He chooses to do. Someone in need will “see a  light.” You may never hear about it.

Yes, we can know darkness, resistance, laziness, whatever. At the end of the day when we disentangle our nets, maybe the first word Jesus speaks to us is, “Repent. You didn’t really get it right there.” Then He adds, “Follow Me. Learn from Me. Try again.”

We have our struggles as we follow Him – our darkness. Yet within that darkness is the call to each of us to follow Jesus, and do as He did.  Our call is to fit into God’s vision for ourselves and for others – to be good news for them. He touches people through us as He chooses – even by our smile.

Each of us is a word of God to be spoken to the world. Let us enjoy speaking that word by our daily living; by saying  “yes” to the daily calls. Jesus needs helpers!