Posted by: vftmom247 | 2011/08/01

He saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them

Impulse for the Day
July 31 2011
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Gospel:  Matthew 14:13-21

He saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them (14:14)

It seems that the pain over the death of John the Baptist made Jesus’ heart even more tender.  This is not always the case with us.  We often find the opposite is true.  People whose souls are hurting hurt other people in return.  This is largely due to whether or not we can process our own pain correctly.  Yesterday, we considered how Jesus took his pain to a quiet place to find conversation with God.  This is how the experience of pain became for him a healing source for many others.
He saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them

Here we see the great heart of God.  God has compassion for all people.  It does not say that Jesus only healed the friends of God.  He heals all, near and far, friends and enemies.  There are no pre-qualifications.  After he heals them, the disciples give them nourishment.  This nourishment is the Eucharist, the bread of life.  Surely we can see, however, that we the disciples must also nourish people through the word of God.  The order becomes very clear here, it is intentionally unsettling:  First people receive God’s blessing, then they are invited to share in the Eucharist!
He saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them

This is shocking! It tears apart foundations of thought!  We would rather see the reverse order: People should first come to the Eucharist, engage in our parishes and groups and then receive God’s blessing.  We want to be the first to receive God’s blessing, because we do so much for Him.  In secret, we wish God would treat us differently.  He  should punish the non-believers.  Instead, he blesses everyone, believers and non-believers alike
He saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them

Can we accomplish this?  Can we view people as God sees them?  Can we bless them, even if they do not live their life in accord with what we think of as right?  Would we really wish them the best, even when they say “I’m doing fine! I do not need God and I don’t need to go to Church?“ If this is difficult for us, if we can’t feel this compassion, it is possible that we still carry grief and pain.  People whose souls are hurting hurt other people in return.  When our soul is fully healed, then we will only bless – like Jesus.
(By no means original.  This one originated with Father Roland in Germany, Chuck translated from German to English, I spell and grammar checked and edited for wordflow.  This just didn’t seem to be highlighted in any of the sermons or writings on yesterday’s Gospel, but I thought that it was a really great way of looking at the Gospel.  It was the fishes and loaves story, btw)


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