“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
The word “compassion” means “to suffer with.” Compassion is different from sympathy. When you sympathize, you show that you care about someone but when you are compassionate, it means you are feeling the pain of the person just as he or she is feeling it. To describe God as compassionate is to say He suffers when we suffer, He cries when we cry, He feels our pain as though it were Him.
We could not have been certain about the compassionate nature of God if He had not become a man to suffer and die for our sake. This is another great lesson of Christmas – God felt our pain to the extent that He had to take our flesh and help us.
Yesterday, we reflected on the power of faith and the fact that Jesus is constantly asking “Do you believe I am able to do this?” Today, we learn that even if we don’t believe, even if we don’t pray at all, God sees what we are going through and comes to our aid all the same.
In today’s Gospel passage, we read that the people trooped around Jesus and without asking Him for anything, Jesus already knew what they were going through. Jesus had compassion on them; he felt their pain so he prayed that God may send more labourers into the harvest of souls.
Dear friends, the Good News today is that Jesus has not ceased being compassionate. Jesus continues to feel our pain today. He understands our sorrows and He knows the exact root causes of our troubles. Trust that Jesus is working something out for your good. While on his way to Damascus, Jesus accosted Saul saying to him: “Why are you persecuting me?”
Does it feel as though God does not care for you right now? Just consider the words of Isaiah in our first reading: “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). Relax, leave it for God. His eyes are not closed and His hands are not too short to reach out.
If we say God is compassionate, it means that we must also extend His compassionate nature to our brothers and sisters. Just like the Good Samaritan did, when you see someone suffering, do not turn the other way. Do not take joy in seeing people in misery. Never laugh at or joke with someone’s misfortunes.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, wipe away my tears and give me the towel so I too can wipe that of others. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 30:19-26, Psalm 147 & Matthew 9:35-10-8).