Having been entrusted with the mission of Christ, the Church is to look at the world through the eyes of the Lord. What’s true of the whole Church is also true of individual members. “At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” In our information and communication age, the whole world is in our vision. The needs and sufferings of the world are placed before us constantly in the daily news. And when we see people troubled and abandoned our hearts are moved to pity. The needs of vast numbers of people are overwhelming. What Jesus saw in His public ministry; His Church likewise sees in all ages. “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
The Church continuously prays for the vast needs of the human family to be fulfilled, always aware that in addition to peoples’ many physical needs there are
also greater spiritual needs. Unfortunately though, in our time there is a focus, perhaps an over-emphasis, on physical needs. And we find ourselves lacking laborers for the Master’s harvest. This over-emphasis on the material occupies young people’s attention making it more difficult for many to hear a call from the Lord.
The Church sees the whole person, understanding humanities needs as both material and spiritual. The needs of the whole person include what is needed to live as children of God in holiness of life, to overcome the forces of sin and evil and the preparation for eternal life. Jesus’ compassion for the human family lead him to empower the disciples to meet both physical and spiritual needs. “Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and cure every disease and every illness.” Spiritual needs unfulfilled may ultimately lead to many other needs. It is clear that sin, evil, and the violation of God’s commandments create great human need and suffering. They block the fulfilment of spiritual needs.
Jesus addressed basic human needs and empowered His Church throughout the ages to do the same. “As you go, make this proclamation; ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” The Church views the world through the eyes of Christ and sees the spiritual needs of people in faith. Without faith many do not see their spiritual needs and may even work against them. Without faith people do not see any reason for Christ, place little importance on His life, do not acknowledge sin, and their need for the Lord. What Paul says may have little meaning to those without faith. “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Great blessings come to those who recognize what the Lord has done, their own and others’ spiritual needs, and act to fulfill them. “You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you to myself. Therefore, if you hearken to my covenant, you shall be my special possession dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine.”
The greatest and deepest needs of the human race are not physical but spiritual. The greatest needs are for salvation in Christ, and a life freed from enslavement to sin. These are the needs the Lord saw when others did not. These are the needs the Church, looking through the eyes of Christ see. These are the needs the Church has been sent to fulfill. “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”