When there is a sense of urgency, life cannot seem to move fast enough. No matter how quickly we want to go, we cannot seem to get there, to do the task, soon enough. Such was the case with the saint we celebrate today, the great Jesuit missionary, Saint Francis Xavier. He was among the first people to be called into the Society started by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and he had the zeal of one on fire with an urgent task. He could not move fast enough to get out to proclaim the gospel. But he also quickly learned that going forth to proclaim the gospel also meant seeking God everywhere. And, it meant being available to people in their need. Saint Francis Xavier soon learned he was not called to change people to be like him. Rather, he was to help them to find the ways in which God had already been active in their lives.
Today’s gospel mentions the need for those to proclaim the word to the people, but also those who are lost sheep, without a shepherd. Which are you today? Are you one who has the urgent zeal to go forth and proclaim the good news? Or, are you the lost sheep in need of the Word of God and the presence of that word. Either way, Jesus is profoundly present and longs to both to send and to gather.