Christ’s Compassion

Mark 6: 34-44
1 Jn 4: 7-10 / Psa 72

You give them something to eat.
(Mark 6:37)

No matter how little we give,
With compassion, it will expand.
If we have love and just believe,
We will raise hundreds of thousands.

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. By this time it was late in the day, so His disciples came to Him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding villages and buy for themselves something to eat.” But He answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to Him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five–and two fish.” Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they all sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. (Mark 6:34-44)

Reflection

How typical of human nature to avoid the responsibility of taking care of the needs of others, especially when it seems that the odds are too insurmountable. “Send the people away to the surrounding villages so they can buy for themselves something to eat.” But the compassion of Jesus was more powerful than their doubts and anxieties. “You give them something to eat.” (Mk.6:37) How could the apostles fail to anticipate how easily Jesus could solve this simple problem after they had witnessed His changing water into more than 120 gallons of the finest wine in a wedding at Cana (Jn.2:7-10); after He had healed all kinds of disease, including the expelling of demons (Mk.1:32-34); and even giving them the powers to heal and cast out demons themselves (Mk.6:13)? They simply were not “thinking out of the box”. They were always more concerned about their limited resources. “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (6:37) And yet all it took were just five loaves and two fish.

Our Lord’s message in today’s Gospel of Mark is that nothing is impossible in this world if only we employ compassion. A long time member of our community whose wrong attitude and spiteful remarks kept him estranged from the group had the misfortune of falling very ill, and his operation and medical bills ran into hundreds of thousands of pesos. In spite of his strained relationships with many members, the governance decided to “pass the hat” to help defray his hospital bills, which had prevented his early release. When one member commented that “raising the amount he needs would have been so much easier if he wasn’t so difficult to get along with,” a Spirit-inspired answer came: “But isn’t that exactly what our Lord meant when He told us to love the unlovable? It is when we show compassion and help to those who are hard to love that our loving is made perfect and pleasing to God. We later learned from his doctor, who is one of our community’s leaders that our sick brother was finally released from the hospital and is now recovering from his operation. How blessed we are who witness God’s miracle of compassion in our community.

Sweet Bread of Life, nourish our faith. Make us believe that You will always bless what we give no matter how little as long as given with love. You will multiply them when we place them in Your hands. Grant us the grace to see that everything comes from You, and must also be shared with others, as much as You shared Your life for our sake. We may not have much to give, but in Your hands the good they do for others will be multiplied. Amen.

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