comforting to think that Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Redeemer of all of us, is a compassionate man. The New Testament
portrays a Christ who seemingly never could pass up anyone in pain: the blind, the deaf,
the paralyzed, the crippled, the possessed, the
very sick and even the dead.
One of the many striking stories in the New Testament is that of the raising
to life the dead son of the widow of Naim. Jesus is out
walking and sees the funeral cortege of the dead son. No one asked Him to do anything, not
even the mother of the dead boy, but Jesus
simply sees her sorrow and raises her boy to
It is consoling to think that Jesus from His place in Heaven may see our
sorrows and will alleviate them or help us carry them.
Assuredly the most compassionate act of our loving Savior was the
institution of the Eucharist. As God He knew well the life-pains
all of us would be
afflicted with and so He gave us something to help us. This is my Body. This is my
blood. Words that have resounded
through the centuries, bringing
us Himself in Holy Communion. His love for us was so great that He could not bear
being totally separated
from us when He went to Heaven.
So He gave us Himself in this most blessed Sacrament. Our weak and imperfect human
incapable of fully understanding the nature and scope
of this divine gift. But it is a fact and is present in every Mass and in every
Jesus compassion shows itself also in the
apparitions of his Blessed Mother. There is
an official list of 15 appearances by Mary to help
humanity bear the burdens of life. They
started in Saragossa, Spain in 40 AD and have continued through the centuries to her
at Medjugorje, Bosnia in this century. Jesus
knows well that there is no one like a mother. And Mary is our Mother, a mother ever ready
The miracles She
performs at places like Fatima and Lourdes are clear evidence of her and His compassion.
We priests are certainly called to a life of compassion. It should be one of our top priorities if not the
very top. Sharing the Eucharist and
administering the other Sacraments are holy acts of compassion. They often help to
alleviate pain. Ill never forget the 82 year old woman who
had not been to
confession in fifty years who said, after I had absolved her: I feel like Im
of Jesus, the crowning with thorns, the three falls on the way to Calvary were acts of
compassion too large to define. His
bloody and pain filled death on the cross even more
so. And it all was for our sake. He had no sins to expiate.
Jesus once said that there is no greater love than for a man to give up his life
for another. And He did that. As we stand beneath a crucifix
and look up at
the tortured figure of our Savior, we have to say, "This is what compassion is all
about." Never will we have to suffer alone.
Our suffering Redeemer wants
to be with us no matter where we are or what we are doing if we come to Him in purity of