Christ’s Compassion

Reading 1 Rv 1:1-4; 2:1-5

Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 And 6

Gospel Lk 18:35-43

In Jesus’ day, the cultural understanding of blindness made a blind person’s disability even harder to bear. The Jews saw blindness as God’s judgment on a sin committed by the blind man himself or by one of his family members. Therefore, as we see in today’s Gospel, no one in the crowd felt any moral responsibility to help the blind man who was crying out to Jesus. They even told him to be quiet because he was making it impossible for them to hear Jesus’ words.

Jesus’ compassion is in marked contradiction of the crowd’s hostility. Jesus wants all of us to have life in its fullness; you remember he expressly says this in John’s Gospel. He wants all people to share in the happiness God has intended for them. He wants all to posses a sufficiency of material blessings so that we will all be free to search and find God and to experience the love of God, who constantly searches for us. Bible Alive points out that in today’s Gospel, “Jesus heals the blind man who then follows Jesus on the way as he realizes he has found not only his sight but the answer to his deepest needs.”

This Gospel incident challenges our own attitude to the millions in our world who are in need. The late Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical, “On Social Concern,” urges us to develop the virtue of solidarity with the poor. “This solidarity,” the Pope writes, “is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at their misfortunes but a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good … to lose oneself for the sake of the other.”

Bible Alive concludes this reflection, with a prayer: “Father, you have given all peoples one common origin and your will is to gather them as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of all with the fire of your love. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure justice and equality for every human being, an end to all division, and a human society built on love and peace.”