Vocation Meditation -
July 31, 2011
Compassion was a very important to the ministry of Jesus, because in all that He did, He always reflected the will of His Father. After hearing of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew by Himself to a quiet place along the shore of the Sea of Galilee to rest and pray. But the people who have been following Him discover where He is and invite others to come in droves with their sick to be healed.
Jesus puts aside his own purpose to serve the people with compassion, for they are the poor and the marginalized of the world. When His disciples return to be with Him that evening, they advise Him to send the people away to buy food for themselves. But Jesus, in a surprising move, gets his disciples to invite the people to sit down and relax. He then takes the food they have, five loaves and two fishes, blesses it and has His disciples distribute the blessed food that feeds over 5,000 men besides women and children. Later 12 baskets are collected of leftovers. The whole scene is like a biblical 'heavenly banquet', clearly a sign that the kingdom of God has come into their midst.
Everyone who feels called to serve Christ must also develop and practice the virtue of compassion. Compassion does not judge others but accepts them as they are. It contains a sensitivity that regards others being served in ministry as a brother or sister in Christ. All followers of Christ, but especially those who have been called to priesthood and religious life, by their vocation are called to be models of compassion, to be mirrors of the heart of God to all whom they serve.
Where have there been recently opportunities for me to show compassion to others in need? How did I respond? What can I learn from Christ today in his feeding of the crowds so generously with five loaves of bread and two fish?
Ever Gracious and Loving God, help me to be compassionate to those who come across my path and who are in need. Grant me wisdom to know how to serve them with what I have, united with what you give me. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.