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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2015


His Compassion!


Reading 1
Jer 23:1-6

Woe to the shepherds
who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply.
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble;
and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading II
Eph 2:13-18

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Mk 6:30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
"Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.



The gospel text of today is very short, not even 130 words.  In that very short text, Mark, the author, mentions Jesus’ compassion twice, in a way, even three times.  First he took pity on his disciples.  They were coming back from their first apostolic trip.  They had been preaching, teaching, and chasing evil spirits away.  (Sure are a lot of evil spirits moving about in this country these days)  They had even been healing.  Power had gone out of them all the time, a power they had never expected in themselves.  They were excited about it.  They told one another, and him, story after story.  They were sure the world was going to change.  It had cost them a lot.  They dropped their sandals, they brushed their hair, they massaged their tired legs and arms.  While they were giving their reports, they were constantly interrupted by dozens and dozens of people who wanted to see him and them, who wanted to be touched, who wanted to draw their attention to their sick children.


They didn’t even have time to eat, nor a second drink as they were swamped by all the others.  Jesus took pity on them and said, “Let us go out of here.  You need rest, some time for yourselves alone.”  He got a boat ready, a skipper, and off they went.  They left those people, the dozens, the scores, the hundreds, and the thousands.  They left them behind.  It was so obvious where they were going that the crowd first started to walk and then to run around the lake so they were all there when they reached the other side, waiting again, hoping again to be touched.  But Jesus took care of them and then attended to the crowd himself.


We might think that compassion of his was not very important in the total richness of his life.  Since it is a sentiment that is so often mentioned as the moving force in his work, we have to be careful about understanding it in his personality.  It was such a moving force in his life that it is not an exaggeration to say that he came into this world because of his pity, because of his compassion.

We all know what compassion is, don’t we.  We see it everyday, every time we see a smashed up car, every time we hear about a child being sick with cancer or any other illness, every time a mother and father has to bury one of their own children, every time we see abuse or hear about it, every time we see someone hurting, alone, or get an email for a prayer request for the innocent people in the world who are murdered by terrorists in other parts of the world; every time we see on the news that an act of domestic terrorism has happen, as recent as the senseless shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  We feel compassion for the families and survivors.  It torments our hearts.


 We feel compassionate toward those who are loosing jobs today, loosing homes, loosing children to the evil in this country.  More than three hundred years ago, a mystic in Whales, Henry Vaughan, wrote this:


"Charity is a relic from paradise, and pity is a strange argument

That we are all descended from one human being."


        Sounds kind of mysterious, mystical, yet perhaps he was right:  Our compassion for others derives from the fact that we are one.  We all participate in the same human, God-given life.  Though many, we are one.  We form one communion, or at least we should.  The reason for this website, Open My Eyes Lord,  was borne out of compassion for others.  That is why many folks have shared their hurts and sorrows, their joys and triumphs, their praise and worship of our Lord in the videos that we make, in the pages that we make.  Because we realize that other folks feel and go through the same things we do, from all over the world.  We realize that you need to get away and find out that there are people who share what you are going through, though each is unique to each person, though the experience might be similar.  We share in the oneness of each other, we are given to each other because of the ONENESS we are in of GOD.


 My friends, it is that pity, that compassion, that awareness of our oneness, that is at the heart of the growing concern for justice and peace in this country and in the world, despite the attempts of a decaying moral fiber, or a moral decaying government and leaders who wish to abandon our Constitution and through us into a socialistic state.  That man Henry Vaughan foresaw this very long ago, when he added that he believed that words like alien and stranger would disappear.  Yes those words are in italic for a reason.  He believed and I share that belief, that those words, though now they take on a different meaning, often indicating a total lack of pity or compassion – were notions received from Cain and his posterity among us.  They feature in the vocabulary of the killers and murderers and the terrorists among us;  the evil that is very active in this world, as it was in previous times.

We are many, though one.  We are one, though many!

Doesn’t that sound like the echo of the divine Trinity:  One though three, three though one?  Weren’t we made in their divine image?  Let us pray that Jesus’ compassion may grow in all of us.



© Deacon Steve A. Politte

July 19th, 2015



Here I Am Lord by John Michael Talbot







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