Let’s be quick to show compassion

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“AS he (Christ) drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her…” (Lk 7,12)

So goes the gospel of Tuesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. To this sight, Christ immediately told the mother not to weep and proceeded to raise the dead son to life again.

Everyone was, of course, amazed. “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people,” they said. And the report of this event spread like wildfire through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.

While it’s true that we may not have the same power that Christ has, we should realize that like Christ we have to learn to be quick to show compassion and to be of help to anyone who is in need in one way or another.

We need to train ourselves in this department. If we really want to be “another Christ,” we should be quick to show compassion to others who are in need of one thing or another.

This is typical of Christ. Wherever he went, though he had to convey difficult and hard-to-understand messages to the people, since these messages were mainly spiritual and supernatural in character, he never neglected their more immediate human needs.

His heart always flowed with compassion, quick to notice the needs of others and to respond to them. And all this in all simplicity, telling the beneficiaries who were so bursting with gratitude that they wanted to broadcast what they received to the whole world, to keep quiet instead.

It’s an example that we should all try to imitate. One deep desire we should have is that of making as some kind of default mode that attitude of always thinking of the others, wishing them well all the time and doing whatever we can to help, irrespective of how they are to us. They can even be hostile to us, but that should not excuse us from being compassionate to them.

It’s obviously not easy to do, but we can always try. With God’s grace and with our persistent effort, we can little by little and day by day hack it, such that it becomes second nature to us to think and feel for the others. That’s what compassion is all about. We just have to learn to be tough to take on whatever effort is needed. We have to learn to be all things to all men.

Compassion starts in the heart, in our thoughts and desires. In this level, there is no limit in what we can do. Obviously, when we try to translate these prayers, thoughts and desires into action and material things, we can be greatly limited. But insofar as prayers and sacrifices are involved, the possibilities are unlimited.

We need to examine ourselves more deeply to see if indeed we are always thinking, praying and wishing others well. We have to be wary of our tendency to let our thoughts and desires be dictated only by self-interest, usually done in a most subtle but effective way. For this, we have to do regular examination of conscience.

Definitely, to be compassionate would involve self-denial and the courage to carry the cross as Christ himself told us clearly. (cfr. Mt 16,24)

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com