Drawn to Jesus, Drawn to Mercy for Others

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Readings for Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Lourdes – Optional Memorial

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“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”  Mark 8:2-3

This passage reveals some interesting points to reflect upon.  Let’s look briefly at three of them.

First, it’s important to note that the crowds were so drawn to Jesus that they were willing to spend three days with Him, listening to Him in a deserted place despite the fact that they were without food.  They chose Jesus and His teaching over food and over the comfort of their own homes.  This reveals the unwavering interest that the people had in Jesus and in His teaching.  It reveals how drawn they were to Him.  It’s as if nothing else mattered.  They simply wanted to be with Jesus.

Secondly, this passage reveals Jesus’ deep concern for the people.  His heart was moved with pity for them.  He was grateful for their presence but He was more concerned for their physical well-being than they were.

Third, it also reveals something quite subtle but profound.  Jesus, in identifying the problem of people being without food for so long, invites the Apostles to see the problem.  Note that He doesn’t solve the problem right away.  He doesn’t immediately tell them what to do.  Instead, He simply explains the problem.  Why is that?

Perhaps one reason is that Jesus was trying to foster love and concern for the people in the hearts of the Apostles.  Perhaps it was a moment in which He was testing them and training them to think about the needs of the people.  By simply posing the question at first, the people were set before the Apostles so that they, too, could grow in heartfelt compassion for them.  Jesus may have wanted their hearts to be “moved with pity for the crowd” just as His was.

Reflect, today, upon three things.  First, are you drawn to Jesus with such intensity that He becomes the central focus of your life?  Does a longing for Him flood your heart and consume your soul?  Second, are you aware of the deep concern that Jesus has for you?  Are you aware that His heart is “moved with pity” for you every day?  Third, are you able to allow the love and compassion that Jesus offers to you, in turn be offered to others?  Can you see the “dilemma” of the needs of others?  And as you see these needs, do you seek to be there for them in their need?  Commit yourself to these three teachings.  If you do, you will also be worthy of being called one of His disciples.

Lord, help me to be drawn to You with intensity and longing.  Help me to see You as the source of all that I long for and need in life.  May I choose You above all else, trusting and knowing that You will satisfy my every desire.  As I turn intensely to You, fill my heart with an abundance of mercy for all.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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