Compassion is simply a sympathetic feeling for the problems, sufferings and misfortunes of other people. Compassion is the act of being sensitive to the pains and needs of those who are passing through difficulties. Everything about the life of Jesus is compassion.
A man of compassion is one, who has that concern for the disappointment, problems, catastrophe, loss, bereavement etc., in the life of other people and hence has the intense desire to help and alleviate them. In today’s gospel, Jesus exhibits this rare quality to his apostles and the crowd.
Jesus and His Apostles.
When His apostles returned from the mission of preaching, teaching and healing. They came to Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
Jesus knows this could be intensive work, and they must be tired. He decided that they should go and have a rest in a deserted place. Even when the crowds could not allow them rest, they left by boat.
After the hectic work, Jesus knows that His apostles need a time of rest and refreshment. He knows what they need at that particular time, and He does not waste time to give it to them.
This shows also that we need to be sensitive to the needs of those who are working with us or for us. There is no single place in the bible where we can see the Lord trying to bully or intimidate any of the apostles. He knows He has great power, but yet He guides them with humility.
Today, many use their positions to harass, intimidate, bully and suffer those who are under their care. This is not what Jesus teaches.
As a Christian, we have to take that little child under your care as your special child. We have to treat those working for us or with us as our brothers and sisters. We have to be sensitive to their needs and help them much we can.
The gospel we preach and hear every day should live in us and with us. The life of compassion is a rare gift among Christians. Instead of living with brotherly love, we choose to live in hatred, envy, jealousy and disintegration. Let us learn from the compassionate heart of Jesus.
Secondly, despite our busy schedule, we need a time for spiritual refreshment, a time to retreat from the crowd and a time with the Lord. The world is so busy and noisy that moments of rest and spiritual retreat seems to be forgotten.
It is in this spiritual activity, that one can regain strength, tap special graces and receive newer ideas and inspiration for the work.
Do not always get busy with the world. Remember to have time with Jesus. Like the apostles reported to Him all they had done and taught, let Jesus know your challenges, problems, strengths and weaknesses. He will surely direct you.
We need a private time with Him often. Jesus is simply synonymous with compassion. He wants to be involved in our daily work.
The apostles followed His direction and were successful. What we need to succeed in life is that special grace, inspiration and strength that come from the Lord.
Compassion for the Crowd.
One thing that baffles me today is that despite that the crowd could not allow Jesus rest, yet He did not get annoyed with them.
Jesus has the very right to send the crowd away with annoyance because their disturbance was getting too much. But instead of getting annoyed, He was moved with pity.
He was also sensitive to their situation. He saw them like sheep who are without a shepherd. Could you imagine, Jesus left His rest and began to teach them.
He knows they are looking for Him, instead of sending them away because of their disturbance, He rather stayed with them.
Jesus is always compassionate. In His life of compassion, He touched the lepers when He knew He is not supposed to touch them (Matthew 8:1–4; Mark 1:40–44), extended his healing mission even to the Samaritans when He knew they are not Jews (Matthew 8:5–13, Matthew 15:21–24) and forgave the people who asked for His forgiveness despite their pasts ( Luke 23:32-43, John 8).
The question today is “can we still find people who are willing to save and help those in need? If you are a leader, are you sensitive to the needs of the people under your care? Can we truly be like the Lord? How are you treating that person who has been serving you for many years? And how did you treat people who come to you for help? Can Jesus also do the same?
May God help us to live the life of compassion and be sensitive to our environments. May He also protect you and give you more strength Amen.