SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“ … his heart was moved with pity for them” Mk. 6:34
The word translated as “pity” or “compassion” in the scriptural quote above is actually a very weak rendering of the original Greek in which the gospel of Mark was written. It literally refers to a “churning of the gut.” This tells us even more how deeply Jesus feels about us all, and how profoundly he resonates with our cherished needs – even on the most physical of levels.
We’ve all experienced that “churning of the gut” in our own lives from time to time. They are usually experiences when we are so overcome with sadness or horror that we can hardly maintain our composure: the death of someone so close to us that we’re left with a feeling of abandonment; the sight of something so unbearably painful that we have to turn our eyes away; the news of a tragedy so outrageous that we are visibly shaken.
We can all relate to this feeling.
What we don’t relate to so easily is the reality of Jesus doing the same.
This is the healer, the miracle worker, the teacher, the One who will rise from the dead, the Son of God. How could he possibly comprehend what being human is really all about? In our minds, we so easily still see him as above and beyond these kinds of earthly feelings. We still imagine him dropping out of the sky and almost pretending to be one of us, but not really struggling with the actual pain of everyday human life, especially that of the most impoverished and the most nakedly needy.
And yet Mark makes it as clear as he can that Jesus not only “gets it,” but walks through the door of our hearts and cries with us, hurts with us, prays with us, listens to us, and allows his gut to “churn” with compassion over us.
Whoever heard of a God like this? Whoever pictured a God that intimate, that personal, that caring?
But, that’s precisely the point of it all.
Jesus presents a whole new understanding of God: the “with us” God; the “for us” God; the “dwelling among us” God. The God that feels and heals. The God that enters into the most secret places in our hearts, and tells us that we are beloved beyond belief.
The God that dines with us – as he does right now.
Look at the common, ordinary, everyday needs Jesus speaks of in today’s gospel reading.
First, he asks his disciples to report on how things are going for them. What have they seen? What have they heard? What have they experienced?
What this tells us is that the God of Jesus wants to hear from us. He wants to know what’s going on in our lives. He wants a deep pattern of communication to exist between us and him. Why? Because that’s what friends do.
Second, from time to time, whenever we can, God wants us to “come away” from it all. He wants us to retreat from the busyness and demands of our daily lives and develop a love for solitude. He wants us to accompany him to a “deserted place” within us away from all the distractions so that we can spend some time daily in prayer.
Third, God wants us to rest. He understands the terrible stresses and hassles of our lives. But, the need for adequate rest is important also. Then, for example, we can be all the more open to be taught “many things.”
Notice that it’s all about us and for us.
That’s who our God is!
NOTE: For any who might be interested, below are listed the most recent additions to my website: drtedsweb.com :
Under the heading of Spirituality, please find the following recent entries that I have written:
The Importance of Jesus
The Importance of Paul the Apostle
Which Letters, or Epistles, Did Paul Really Write?
Who Was Paul?
What Did Paul Teach?
Paul: Jesus the Crucified One
Paul: Jesus the Risen One
Why the Second Vatican Council Is So Important
The Major Reforms of Vatican Council II
The Book of Genesis
The Book of Revelation
Under the heading of Psychology, please find the following entries that I have written:
Also: Don’t miss the weekly spirituality blog by my friend and former religion editor for the Des Moines Register, Tom Carney.
Again, these can all be found on my website: drtedsweb.com
Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D.