August 03, 2008

A comment on today's gospel

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,

he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,

his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

Jesus, I find, is an extremely interesting character. He condemns the scribes and pharisees for hypocrisy, forgives the worst of sinners (to touch a prostitute in Jewish society would be to forbid yourself from entering the temple until you had done ritual washing), touched lepers (another Jewish taboo), and healed on the Sabbath. He was quite the radical. He shattered societal norms. But, today's gospel shows an almost completely different Jesus. His heart is "moved with pity" for the crowd, the helpless sheep who follow their shepherd. Jesus was deeply affected by John the Baptist's death - John was his cousin, after all. Naturally, Jesus wanted some alone time - probably to pray. This is not very much to ask. However, the crowd who follow their Messiah cannot be gotten rid of so easily. They follow him, on foot, all the way to this "deserted place". Jesus, who just wants to be alone, sees them and "his heart was moved with pity." Think about it - Jesus' cousin just died, and the poor man just wants to be left alone. But even though emotionally, Jesus has to be absolutely worn out, he "cured their sick", and preached to them the messages of the kingdom. So great was his love that he set himself, his emotions, and his problems aside to help the needy around him. He loved those poor people so much that he could not turn them away. He created them, and they came to him sick, needy, hungry, and ready to hear his teachings. Despite his tiredness, despite having his cousin's head chopped off, Jesus is immediately compassionate. He cures their sickness, he feeds their hunger, he fulfills their neediness, and gives them the greatest gift of all - His Word. So, let's take a hint from today's gospel, and next time we're tired, have headaches, and our siblings or our children are bothering us - let's try to be Christlike, and be kind to the ones close to us, and treat them with love, even when it's hard.


Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home