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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 22nd July

Natural Compassion and pity

We are all naturally compassionate - we only have to think of the boys and their guide who were entombed in the cave in Thailand to realize how much we cared for them.

Where does compassion come from?

‘Compassion’ comes from “com-passio”, to suffer with. The poet and mystic Henry Vaughan once wrote:

Charity is a relic from paradise

And pity is a strange argument

That we are all descended

From one human being.

So, that’s it – we reach out to strangers because we come from the same mother and father, simply, Adam and Eve (as we understand them!). If that thinking were taken on board, Henri Vaughan believed, we would no longer have the words, ‘stranger’ or ‘alien’ in our vocabularies.

Jesus, the Compassion of God

If we are simply ‘do-gooders’, or philanthropists, we can become dispirited, cynical or burnt out. Jesus is aware of this and calls his disciples aside to rest-‘they had no time, even to eat’! True compassion is the compassion of God himself, in Jesus Christ. Who could have experienced ‘com-passio’ more than Christ, the one who has suffered with’ us in our public and private sorrows?

Pastores Dabo Vobis- I give you shepherds

Jesus takes pity on the people today, because they are like ‘sheep without a shepherd.’ Kindly keep praying, and keep encouraging those you know, to give their lives as shepherds of God’s people, in the role of priests, religious and members of lay communities. Please, pray, pray, pray, for vocations.

Fr. Michael McCullagh c.m.


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