Daniel 9: 4-10
Luke 6: 36-38
My mother was of simple faith and ethics. She used to say to us children: ‘Treat others as you would want yourself to be treated’ and ‘What goes around comes back around’. She didn’t tolerate gossip, telling tales, or not sharing the little that we had. Neighbours knew that they would always find an open door, and a listening ear, with a cup of tea at our kitchen table. As youngsters growing up we knew no other way but treating others kindly.
It was only as we grew older and experienced things from others, or saw others being treated differently, that we realised poverty, failure, unpleasant circumstances, greed, jealousy, fear or anger, sickness, or uncontrolled desires could sway kind and compassionate responses into ones of abuse or blame or criticism, judgement or condemnation, lack of forgiveness, lack of respect, and lack of caring or generosity. We also began to recognise within us the urge at times to respond in such ways ourselves.
My father used to say: ‘It’s a dog eat dog world …’ Society, politics, community situations today across the world, sent such mixed messages … To be kind and compassionate is seen by some as a weakness, by others as impossible. Self-preservation or promotion is valued as more important than seeking the welfare and good of others.
In our Gospel reading today Jesus is clear in his guidance: BE COMPASSIONATE. Do not judge, do not condemn, grant pardon, give with utmost generosity … because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back. All these actions show how to be truly compassionate.
Today we reflect on how we can listen and respond to our own and other’s needs, and the needs of our world, from the depths of a truly compassionate heart.
Pam Storey is a member of the Passionist Faith Community at Holy Cross, Templestowe, and one of the founding members of Passionist Companions. After a very active and varied family, church and working life, Pam is now focusing on developing a slow spirituality.