Faith Daily | 6 February 2021

PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Four

O Lord,

you have taught us

that all our doings without love are worth nothing:

send your Holy Spirit,

and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,

the true bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whoever lives is counted dead before you;

grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake.

Amen APBA p533

GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 6: 30-34

30The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Jan

I have in the past had many discussions with people about the nature of empathy… there are various opinions… ranging from “placing yourself in another’s shoes” to a direct correlation with compassion. Interestingly, everyone seems to know what compassion is – I believe it a very complex feeling/emotion/thing. It has been very much associated with ‘pastoral care’ – again, it can be a much aligned interpretative practice.

There are lots of definitions for compassion – in a way it encompasses them all. As Christians though, our understanding has to be the Jesus model. The hardest definition of all! Each reference associated with our Lord is not to do with a stand alone feeling – there is always a resultant action. Today’s reading says he taught the people; in other places Jesus heals, feeds, does something. Compassion = action.

The key attribute, which of course Jesus does perfectly, is discernment of what is needed. That is the definition of practising compassion. Discernment of what is called for in the need in front of you involves intentional listening and being present with the other.

It reminds me of Eliza Doolittle’s song with Freddy….

Make me no undying vow. Show me now! Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme! Don't waste my time, Show me! Don't talk of June, Don't talk of fall! Don't talk at all! Show me!

Poor old Freddy, not really listening at all to what was needed in the moment.

How we all have to let go of our clutter and our day and our bias and our inward looking, to be really present with someone. As soon as we do, we are practising compassion, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, we will know what to do next.

How blessed we are to have the compassionate heart of Jesus listening to us!

FINAL PRAYER: Michael Leunig

God give us rain when we expect sun.

Give us music when we expect trouble.

Give us tears when we expect breakfast.

Give us dreams when we expect a storm.

Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations.

God play with us, turn us sideways and around.


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