Compassion: God’s Timely Message

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / August 2, 2020 / 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There’s an amusing story about two parish priests discussing about how they share the Sunday collection with their assistant priests. “That’s easy,” the younger priest said. “I simply draw a big circle on the floor. I toss the money up in the air and what falls inside is mine; what falls outside goes to my assistant.”
“My system is simpler and more effective,” bragged the older priest. “I simply toss up all the money in the air. What goes up is for my assistant, and what comes down is for me.” Following the Law of Gravity, obviously the assistant gets nothing!

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The theme of this 18th Sunday gospel is about sharing, but not the kind which those parish priests practiced.

We read in today’s gospel (Mt 14, 13-41) about Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish. The famished Jews had only five loaves of bread and two fish, which a little boy offered. But out of these, the Lord blessed and, behold, they multiplied so much that the 5,000 people excluding the women and children were able to eat and even overflowed with leftovers.

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What’s the lesson Jesus is telling us? As Christians, he wants us to emulate his example of showing pity and compassion by reaching out to those who are in need.

We may not have the miraculous power to do it but by sharing the little that we have, he will multiply it.

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What’s also important is that it’s not enough that we feel sorry for the needy but we must show it in action. To paraphrase the words of a spiritual writer, “They do not have compassion those who do not show it in action.”

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During these trying times of Covid-19, there have been inspiring acts of pity and compassion. For instance, when some benevolent people saw the predicament of medical workers and frontliners who could not go home since their houses were far and conveyances were unavailable, they offered their vacant lots and apartments for them to use.

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A man showed compassion when he went to his barangay to collect his cash fund assistance of P6,000. He lined up for hours but when he saw there were some who were not given, he was moved with pity and said to the barangay officer, “I’ll just donate my share to them. I can manage to survive these days with my little pension.”

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Likewise, there are groups of wealthy businessmen and movie celebrities who exemplified compassion by raising funds in order to alleviate the sufferings of numerous people like those stranded unable to go home to their provinces as well as many poor made poorer due to the loss of livelihood.

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There are other ways how we can exemplify mercy and compassion. These could be immaterial like visiting the sick, consoling those who’re weighed down with depression and heavy problems, especially financial.

Another way is PRAYER for the sick and their holistic healing—the ‘wellness’ of heart, soul, mind, and body.

This includes prayer for acceptance of their condition and the courage to cope with the consequence of their treatment.

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Our Lord clearly said that in the Last Judgment when we will come face-to- face with him, we will not be asked how intelligent, how rich or how good-looking we are, but by such practical deeds of mercy and compassion like feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick (Mt 25,31ff.). Our good deeds will be our “passport” to Eternal Life.

In the midst of numerous worldly preoccupations, let us not forget our mission of mercy and compassion and, above all, implement it.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A man says: “What scares me most is when God says to Mother Teresa on Judgment Day, ‘Teresa, you should have done more good works.’
And there I am–right behind her!”

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A politician was giving a talk about world hunger. “Millions of people in the world are starving. They eat barely once a day.” But he was speaking at a dinner, overflowing with mouth-watering food and choice wines!

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