Saturday, July 21, 2012

He Had Compassion For Them

These words from the Gospel for this Sunday are not only about how Jesus sees the world, but about how we ought to see the world. God invites us to suffer with those who suffer, just as Jesus suffered with those he encountered in his ministry. And like Jesus our suffering with ought to move us to action, not only to bring healing and comfort to those who suffer, but also to work to remove the causes of suffering whenever we can. The move from caring to advocacy is often a difficult one for us. Sometimes the causes of suffering are hard to define. At other times there are political forces that make our efforts seem futile.

We often need courage to move out of our comfort zones and speak truth to those in power. Several years ago a friend of mine was engaged in a campaign to rid her neighborhood of abandoned buildings, some of which had become drug houses. She and others from her Roman Catholic parish had arranged to meet with a housing court judge in his chambers to discuss one particular house. They asked the judge to order the immediate demolition of the house. When he told them that he did not have the authority to do that, my friend said, "Your honor, that response is unacceptable." A short time later, in open court, the judge ordered the demolition of the building.

How are we to show compassion in the wake of the killings and woundings in Aurora? I think we need to get out of our comfort zones and demand what our employees in Washington - the President and the Congress - have been unwilling to give us, sensible gun control laws.

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