Christ’s Compassion

Mark 6: 30-34
Heb 13: 15-17, 20-21 / Psa 23

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
(Mark 6:31)

Christ calls us to a quiet place,
And from our troubles take a leave,
His Word teaches His gentle ways,
To rest as we learn to forgive.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (Mark 6:30-34)

Reflection

Jesus had sent the apostles to heal and evangelize, and they had returned to report on their mission. They wanted to be left alone by themselves, but the wonders that Jesus wrought had spread throughout the lakeside towns, and vast crowds sought him out, giving Him and His apostles no rest, nor time to talk. They escaped by boat and sailed off to a deserted place, but again the crowds found them out. Instead of losing His patience with the persistent and inconsiderate crowd, the Lord took pity on them, “for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). In this passage we can see the patience, understanding and compassion of our Lord for the people who were hounding Him with their needs and their ailments, even though He knew that not long thereafter, these very same people would be screaming for His blood, in spite of all the goodness He had shown to them. And yet He still showed them His love, teaching them this new commandment of forgiveness.

Today’s Gospel reading reveals the tenderness of God towards His people. How patient and forgiving God has always been with us, His hard-hearted followers. Sometimes we can get so caught up with our problems, responsibilities, or perhaps self-importance that we lose our patience and compassion towards our companions who may have inadvertently rubbed us the wrong way. Even though we have been called and chosen for the special privilege of living in the renewal, why are we sometimes unforgiving when a brother or sister offends us with unguarded words? Taking a more conciliatory stance with tender words often makes the offending party realize his mistake, instead of expecting him to acknowledge his fault. The crowds listened and learned from Jesus because he had compassion on them.

“Come away by yourselves with Me to a deserted place and rest for awhile” (Mark 6:31). How sweet those words are to our troubled hearts. How practical and necessary it really is to take time out from the world’s hustle and bustle, from our hurts and recriminations, and commune with our loving Shepherd so that we may learn the virtue of forgiveness. When we learn to forgive, it is when we find rest and peace.

Grant us the grace, to know the importance of taking time out an hour a day, a day in a week, or a week-end in a year to give to You, Lord Jesus, so that we may learn Your gentle ways. Your Word brings peace and reconciliation to Your flock, dear Lord. Amen.

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