The compassion of God

BY SR HILDEGARD RYAN OSB

Sunday, July 22nd,  2012 is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.

Lectio:  Read the Gospel from Mark 6:30-34.

Meditatio:  Some background to the text, so that we understand its meaning.  Most commentaries state that this text is a preparation for the miraculous story which follows – the loaves and the fish and the feeding of the five thousand.  The Jerome Biblical Commentary also notes that it “underscores the disciples’ participation in the ministry of Jesus, the popular enthusiasm for Jesus, and the compassion displayed by Jesus.”  (41:42).

It is a beautiful text.  And because of its message:  “You must come away to some lonely place and rest for a while”, it may be better for us to do just that – go to a remote corner of the garden and be still in the Presence of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to play on the fibres of our hearts and bring forth the most beautiful melody of our response to the text.

A seat by the Sea.

Parking one’s car in a spot overlooking the lake, or a beautiful park.

A quiet corner of a Church which is open for prayer.

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. 

A few episodes of STILL TIME through the week will lead to the seed of God’s word, which has been planted in the soil of our hearts, bearing the most beautiful fruit.

I share my response in Evangelizatio No. 1.

Evangelizatio is my LIVED RESPONSE to the sacred scriptures given to me each week by the Church for my formation as a Christian.  If I don’t respond, they are merely texts on a page.  When I do respond, they are my life.

My heart is responding to the compassion of Jesus.  The word “pity” is unfortunate in English, because we associate it with condescending actions.  However, the word “pity” is a combination of compassion and mercy, and kindness.  The mercy of God is the “oil of healing”.  The compassion of God is such that it goes right inside the other person. 

It is maybe the emotion we are feeling over the plight of our Asylum Seekers.  We see them drowning, and our hearts feel terrible pain.  We want to do something, and this is Jesus within us beholding the fact that they are “like sheep without a shepherd”, people without a country, families without homes.  In the recent debate in Parliament, some of the Parliamentarians showed compassion – they even let their emotions dominate.  

They couldn’t help it – especially where the plight of children are concerned.  I have intensified my prayer for Asylum Seekers.  I am praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary every day for Asylum Seekers.  And every day after receiving the Eucharist, I am asking Jesus to have mercy on them. And I am crying out in the Psalms, giving them the voice they are too weak to have. 

“My God my God, why have you abandoned me?” – these words of the Psalm which Christ prayed on Calvary may be just what those fleeing Afghanistan want to pray but can’t – they are too sick, too weak, too traumatised.  I can pray it for them. 


Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB is based at Jamberoo Abbey

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