Christ-like compassion

Faith Focus for the Week

Empathy is our ability to understand and share the feelings of others, the ability to imagine ourselves in someone else’s place. Compassion is our response to empathy: to feel together, to suffer together, to be moved by what we have experienced through empathy. Compassion is a sign of inner strength. Compassion denotes a willingness to make ourselves vulnerable — yet not become overwhelmed or paralyzed — and to act on behalf of someone else.

That is how the Hebrew Scriptures describe the compassion of God, and that is what Jesus modeled for us in the Gospels. Jesus was moved by the sight of the crowd that looked like a flock without a shepherd, so he taught them (see Mk 6:34). The pain of long-term alienation of the blind men moved him, so he healed them (Mt 20:34). He was moved by the sight of his disciples and prayed for them (Jn 17).

And so must we, 21st-century disciples, follow in Jesus’ steps:

• allowing ourselves to feel the pain of ignorance and go teach;

• suffering with those who suffer and heal;

• recognizing spiritual need and responding.

This article comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.


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