"The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, "come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest awhile." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things." Mark 6:30-34
This was the gospel reading last Sunday and it touched my heart. I just felt called to meditate on it all week. So I did. I just felt like the Lord wanted me to really study that scripture passage, meditate on it during my Adoration time, and ponder it all week long. So I did.
The first thing that I thought about was how people hungered so much that they would run to be with Him. They ran so fast that they got there before Jesus and his apostles. They did not want to miss out!! When I was sitting in front of Him during my Adoration time, He said, "why don't they run to me now? I want you to run to be with me in Adoration, run to daily Mass, find the time to be with me." We should all want to be with Him so much. And as Catholics, we can!!! Even if we can find an open church with a tabernacle. He is in there. We believe it is Him! Aren't we blessed that as Catholics we believe He has not left us alone. He is present to us in every Catholic church, every day, in a tangible way!!!
But Catholics are not the only ones who hunger for Him. Every one does. Some look, and look. They don't know they are looking for Him. They are looking for happiness, they are looking for peace. In drugs, alcohol, sex, money, material goods. In new age practices, centering prayers, and crystals. But we will never find it in those things. He is the only answer. He makes sense. He brings peace, even in the midst of suffering.
So Jesus looked at all these people, people who were tired and dirty and hungry. And even though He was tired Himself, his apostles were tired, tired of people, tired of teaching, tired of being around others and being touched, Jesus had pity on them. Moms know this feeling. You get to the end of your day, the hubby worked overtime and for the last hour you have been counting down the minutes until bedtime. You get them all in bed and you sit down with a sigh and then one of them comes down. They are crying, they have had a bad dream, or something happened that day to make them upset. Inside you are screaming, "Go to bed already!!!!!". But you look at that little face you love so much and you have compassion. So you scoop the child in your arms and you rock them and hold them and kiss them. This is how Jesus felt about them. He had pity on them. And this is what He sees when He sees us. When I sit in front of Him in Adoration, He feels compassion for me. He sees my struggles, my worries and my hunger for Him. So He takes me in His arms and comforts me. He has pity on me. He teaches me.
I think even more today than in the time of the apostles, we act like sheep without a shepherd. People are wandering. There is a bumper sticker out there that says, "All who wander are not lost." I always say out loud, "Yeah, yeah they are". Jesus sees that, He sees us all wandering, looking, not knowing where to go. Look at all the sorrow. Look at how people treat each other. We put our trust in mere mortals, Obama is the new god, Madonna has all the karamabu answers, if only I could learn tai chi or scientology from Tom Cruise or John Travolta. Then I would find peace. All of this mumbo jumbo doesn't amount to a hill of beans. No one in scientology died for me, Madonna could give a hoot about me, she just wants my money. They all do. We wander from new thing, to new thing. Lost. Sheep without a shepherd.
In the inner city where I am a missionary, oh, the people are so lost. Generation after generation. People on the outside look at them and say, "They are animals, they act like pigs. They kill each other. Good! One less person on welfare." But these are lost sheep. They were made in God's image. Jesus has compassion for each one of them. But they don't know Him. It's our job, no matter how futile it seems. Even one soul is worth saving. Look into their faces. Look. You will see a soul there. A soul that is just as precious to God as you and I are.
When God looks at us, when Jesus looks at us, He doesn't see black, white, Latino, Polish, Irish. He sees the soul He created. He sees us all wandering in the dark. Where should we go? Who will lead us? He has compassion. He loves us so much.
He says "Come to me. And bring your brothers and sisters. I will teach you. I alone have true compassion for you. I died for you."
This world is so crazy. Getting crazier by the minute. Even those we see doing evil things deserve God's pity, God's compassion. He sees all of our hearts. Even the people you hate, even the people who are doing things that are terribly wrong, we have to have compassion for them. Jesus does. Because He knows. We are ALL sheep without a shepherd.
We have to stop condemning and we have to start loving. As Jesus loves. With compassion. Jesus knew that the people running to be with Him needed to be taught. They just didn't know any better. He didn't look at them and say, "You slept with twenty guys and who knows who the father of your baby is. Go away." He didn't say, "I don't like the way you live your life, your gay, go home." He didn't say, "You steal money from people and make their lives miserable, go back to where you came from." He gently and lovingly taught them. He loved them. He saw everything about them, good, bad, ugly. And He had compassion for them!!! He had pity on them.
If the God of the universe can know every bad thing about us and still have compassion for us, why can't we have it for each other?
What does He want from us?