Good morning, happy Tuesday, and many blessings.
The verses we heard in today’s Gospel, Matthew 9:32-38, describe Jesus going about his ministries. He’s travelling from town to town. Everywhere he goes, he teaches in the synagogues. And healing is a big part of his ministry, too. Matthew says that Jesus healed every disease and infirmity.
As Jesus gazed out at the people gathered about him, Matthew says he was filled with compassion. Their pain, their loneliness, their grief, it all became his. He saw just how harassed and helpless they were. His response to their plight was loving compassion. But as Jesus saw the multitudes, he took compassion on them. That word compassion in the Greek meant more than taking mere pity. Jesus was moved emotionally, he felt it in his gut. Compassion forms the backbone of Jesus’ mission and of our discipleship. It was compassion that compelled him to take on our human flesh in the first place. And compassion prompted him to pour himself out to death on a cross.
As disciples of Christ, the church is compelled to be of the same mind as Christ. From his mind to our hearts. And throughout every generation, compassion has been the calling of Christ’s church.
The first-generation church found they had a need for people to see to the daily needs of their community. They needed people to oversee the hunger program to feed the widows among them. And so, they appointed Deacons. The church has been served by deacons ever since then.
I want to highlight two mistakes that cause us to lose our compassion for others. First: Wanting others to notice your compassion can cause you to lose your compassion for others. We want people to know that we were compassionate to others. I don’t mean that we are compassionate for our reputation, but still, it is nice to know that others are aware that you are a caring, compassionate person. When we focus on whether or not people are noticing our compassion, and we find that they aren’t, it is easy to get our feelings hurt. When we get our feelings hurt, we are certainly not ready to show compassion to others. We need to simply show compassion because that’s what the object of our compassion needed.
And second: thinking you’re the only one that ever shows anybody compassion can cause you to lose your compassion for others. This is simply self-pity. This is what Martha’s main problem was. It made her rude to Mary and others, rather than compassionate.
I want to leave you with these two questions today: Do we have compassion, do we have pain deep in our gut, for the lostness in the world, as Jesus did? Do we see the world as Jesus sees the world?