Friday, September 1, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Compassion: Faith in Action
Matthew 8:1-4
Vs. 2 "...and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.”
                        Jesus had just finished the Sermon on the Mount and he was coming down from the mountain. After hearing Jesus, a large crowd was accompanying him with passion and excitement. Jesus has concluded his sermon by saying practice your faith through the parable of wise builder. A person with leprosy was considered completely unclean-physically and spiritually. He could not approach within six feet of any person including family members (Lev. 13:45-46 says "Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!' As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp”). Here Jesus has demonstrated what he had taught or we can say practicing faith with compassion.
          Compassion can be defined as “your pain in my heart”. Bernard of Clair Vaux said Justice seeks out only the merits but compassion only regards the need. Here the leper seeks not justice but compassion from the Lord. He was not having a space in the society and it was forbidden to be in a crowd. Jesus has taken the pain of that person in his heart and inviting him to be in the crowd or people. By inviting or allowing that person for being with him, we could see a compassionate heart of Christ declaring silently that he was not rejected but having space among the people. The leper blindly believed and had faith that Jesus can heal him completely. He was not asking for healing but for cleansing. Healing was personal for him to be good in health and body but cleansing was special that gives him lost status. Only a compassionate heart could read the pain of others. The leper was considered as person abandoned by God, but Jesus declared that lepers too have place in the kingdom of God.  Jesus welcomed the leper, gave place among the people and touched him with compassion. And that touch transformed the life of a leper – “the untouchable became touchable’. Human beings have five senses and they are important in understanding of world around them. When we touch something we got involve with it. Jesus wanted to say silently to the religious Jews that they failed to see the pain and they lost the sense of understanding others. God expects this compassion from us. Our faith in action is the need of the time. A smile with compassion will give a loving touch to the painful heart. A ‘hi’ to the ‘unattended’ will give a cherishing experience in their lives. Let us practice our faith as our Lord has demonstrated.
Almighty Lord helps us to be compassionate. Bless us to feel the pain of the needy and to extend a transforming touch to their lives. Amen
Whatever we touch, we leave fingerprints; as we touch other’s lives, we leave our identity.
 Rev. Isaac P. Kurien, St. John's MTC, New York