September 17, 2019

“… A man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her, and said to her,’Don’t cry’.” Compassion begins to act here. It is compassion that moves Jesus to speak and to act. Compassion signifies literally: “to suffer with”, to assume or make ours the suffering of the other person, identifying oneself with the person, feeling the pain, the suffering in the depths of our own being. It is compassion which puts into action the power of Jesus, the power of life over death, his creative power.

This woman was a widow. She had already lost her husband, already experienced that grief. And now she has lost her son, her only son, as well. This means she is now destitute. Compassion and healing is offered by Jesus. Tragedies are bad enough by themselves. If we do not make use of God’s source of comfort, these tragedies will be worse than they need to be.

Compassion is much needed today. Compassion for the poorest of the poor, for the girl struggling with pregnancy and abortion thoughts, for a representative wondering how to vote on moral issues, for the migrants and asylum seekers in our country, so much vilified today. I let my gaze rest on Jesus’ encounter with this poor widow, and I ask for knowing Jesus better so that I can love him and behave as he did in the face of human suffering, even of people I do not personally know. In each Mass Jesus shows compassion for us; how can we not share this with others? Those who have been through a terrible tragedy, know the importance of this source of comfort.

How can I exercise compassion where it is needed today?

Let Us Pray:

O Lord, instill in me a compassionate heart so that I may offer your people the same consolation you offered throughout your own life.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.