Mass Reading & Meditation for July 9, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 9:32-38
Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them.” (Matthew 9:36)
Pity. Some of us cringe when we hear that word! Once meant to convey sincere compassion for the sufferings of others, that noun now struts through our language a little contemptuously, often signifying a feeling of superiority or condescension. That surely is not the “pity” that moves Jesus’ heart in today’s Gospel reading—or has ever moved him! He who is sinless looks upon our sin with neither contempt nor disdain. No, he looks with love.
The pity that Jesus feels for us is best described as compassion or caring. He feels sadness because of the pain that sin causes us. He looks upon us, and his entire being is moved to help us: to forgive, to heal, to ease our pain. Just think of how he was moved to take on himself the sin of the whole world! This is the ultimate display of Jesus’ pity. No syrupy sentiment, it is passionate, almost fierce in its readiness to do anything—even suffer and die—so that we could be freed from our pain.
So often, sin causes us to feel guilty and ashamed. Like Adam and Eve, we want to hide from God. And yet he isn’t angry with us. Our sin doesn’t make him turn away from us. It doesn’t fill him with contempt or hatred for us. No, he seeks after us, always calling out, “Where are you?” He suffers with us and he longs for us to experience his gentle kindness. Moved with pity, he longs to tend to our wounds, remove our guilt, and build us up in his love.
Can you believe that Jesus looks at you with love for you shining in his eyes? Close yours for a minute and try to picture what that looks like. See that he is not judging or condemning you. See how much he cares. Your concerns matter to him, and he is intensely, profoundly eager to soothe you, to help you, to free you. For each of us, that care looks different. And it may not look exactly as you imagine it. But it is real, and it has the power to reshape your very heart.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me. I accept your pity—your compassion—and I open my heart today to your healing and forgiveness.”
Genesis 32:23-33; Psalm 17:1-8, 15