Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Jesus throughout His ministry is moved with compassion for the men and women of this world in so many ways. He is moved with compassion in how he deals with sinners and the sick. He is moved with compassion to suffer and die on the cross for us. True compassion is one of the lures that He puts in the water to capture men and women’s hearts. To be fishers of men and women in this world means we have to have that same compassion for each other, but in order to do that we have to catch His bait first.
Compassion, what a concept! The movie The Good Catholic has a scene that stuck with me on compassion. Brother Ollie makes a speech: “We all like to think we are compassionate. We might say to each other hope you feel better, our thoughts and prayers are with you, I am so very sorry for your loss. Compassion is a funny thing, though, because when you find out where the word compassion comes from, its real origin, it turns out the word actually means to suffer with, not to pity, not to feel sorry for, not to send hugs to someone’s Facebook page, but to suffer with.”
Jesus suffered with! He suffered with the sick, the lame, the blind, the deaf. He suffered with St. Peters mother-in-law, the women caught in adultery, the roman centurion whose son was sick. He suffered with St. Peter who denied him on the cross, St. Paul who persecuted and killed at least one Christian. He suffered with St. Stephen the first martyr and all the martyrs. Jesus suffered with sinners and He suffers with you and me, not because we deserve it, but because of his unconditional love for us.
Are you and I capable of doing the same for others?
Are you and I willing to suffer with, not because others deserve it, but out of love for others?
Are you and I capable of suffering with our loved ones and even our enemies?
Are you and I capable of suffering with someone else, to take on their pain, to carry someone’s cross for a moment by listening to them and trying to understand and feel their pain?
Are you and I able to give others a real hug when they need it?
Are you and I capable of suffering with someone who is hurting, who is completely lost, who is down in life and to show them they are not alone in this world?
Are you and I willing to suffer with someone with less than us, less money, less stuff, less freedom, less choice, less privileges, less basic human rights?
Are you and I willing to suffer with someone who is deep in repetitive sin and needs not judgement from us, but love right now?
Are you and I truly able to suffer with others?