I recalled the words of Frederick Buechner, who wrote: “The love for equals is a human thing … of friend for friend, brother or sister for brother or sister. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing … the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.”

Lately someone, who I will not identify, has invaded my thinking chair but I am undeterred by her boldness. A shift here and there creates new space to sit and be still and ponder. Compassion has settled within.

In the Greek compassion means “to have the bowels yearn, (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity:—have (be moved with) compassion.” In the Bible, the bowels were believed to be the source of kindness and pity, the place deep within each person where feelings originate. Compassion is when another’s suffering becomes your suffering and it changes the way we live.

We’ll suggest that the spirit of the word compassion is synonymous with doing. And spiritually, compassion involves acting to alleviate pain, worry, fear and suffering of others. Buechner also wrote these words that we invite you to consider, “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-37
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Reflection Questions:
Who has shown you what compassion means?
Who needs your compassion?
How has being compassionate changed the way you see life?

Prayer: Holy God, as I go about being a person of Good News keep me mindful of those in need.  Let compassion overflow in me so I may know peace and joy.  Amen.

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