The Readings today indicate one thing: God cares. The Gospel tells us when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Many have the picture of God as someone who does not care, or someone who is waiting for us to make a mistake so he can punish us. But this is not what Scripture shows us. God is someone who cares. The First Reading tells us he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. God wants to come and help us, to heal us, to provide for our needs, to give light to the darkness in our lives. The Psalm tells us, He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds… he lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground.
In the midst of the chaos we have in our lives, God longs to come to us. He longs to enter our lives, to make it holy and to give us light and healing. God will never abandon us. In fact, when he sees us, wandering aimlessly in life, he has compassion and his deepest being yearns for us. In response to this, he sends people to proclaim the good news, that he is here. He sends people to heal and deliver from the slavery of sin and of evil spirits.
This is what God wants. But the question is, do I want this? If I do, I need to allow the Lord to enter my life because God will not do anything to us and for us without our permission. The truth is we cannot save ourselves from our situation, only God can. The only way for him to save us is for us to call on him. He tells us, he will be gracious to us when we cry and he will answer. His response may not be what we want or expect, but we can be sure, his response is always for our good. Every good and perfect gift comes from God, so we trust him and call to him.
Lord, I have done something shameful. I have done something evil. And I have felt you cannot forgive me, that you do not care and you have confined me to a life of hell. Yet Lord, I realize, you are the God of mercy and compassion, who hears the cry of those who call you. Here I am, calling you to enter my life. Come Lord Jesus. I surrender my life to you. I turn away from the evil things I have done. And I want to break away from the evil spirits that bind me in my sin, in my guilt and in my shame. Come Lord and set me free. Jesus, I trust in you.