Pastor’s Corner for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, by Fr. Arnold Moyo SJ

Availability & Evangelisation


One theme that we can derive from this Sunday’s readings is that of “availability”. In the first reading, Moses gives what seems to be a farewell speech to the Israelites that he has been leading from Egypt through the desert. He promises people that when he is gone, God will raise up another prophet and leader like Moses himself to continue to lead his people to Canaan, the promised land.


Moses is regarded as one of the greatest prophets and leaders of Israel. We are all familiar with the story of his calling. Reluctantly, he made himself available for the mission of leading the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. It was this deep sense of availability that gave him the courage to challenge Pharoah to release the Israelites. It was this same availability that allowed him to overcome his own fears of inadequacy as a leader, and help constitute the Israelite nation and build its religious and political identity.


In the second reading, St Paul contrasts the differences in availability between those that are married and those that are not. Paul believed that while marriage was a sacramental gift from God, it restricted people to their own concerns and cares. Thus, one who is unmarried is more available to concern himself or herself with not only his or her own life, but that of others too. Availability to preach the good news as a missionary was to Paul a quality more likely to exist among those who are unmarried than those who are (hence why Catholic religious and priests take a vow of chastity and promise of life-long celibacy).


The greatest example of availability is seen in Jesus Christ himself. Jesus made himself available to all, but especially to those ignored by others, those at the periphery: women, the sick, the possessed, the poor, the lonely (remember the Samaritan woman at the well?), the ignored (story of the good Samaritan!).


Attentiveness to the needs of others is a quality we all should possess and exercise as Christians.  Availability requires capacity for empathy; to be “moved with pity”, a description we often hear of Jesus in the gospels: “He saw the crowd and was moved with pity”. Jesus is emotionally attuned to the needs of others, and he thus makes himself available to them and responds to those needs.


Let us examine ourselves and see how often we make ourselves available to others. How available are you to your own families? Friends? Those in need of your help? Sometimes all people need from us are not material things, but simply our presence to them.


Let us invoke the Holy Spirit that dwells within each of us as baptised Christians to dispose us to the exercise of charity in our daily lives through availability to others.


Fr. Arnold Moyo SJ