Mass Readings: Hosea 8:4-7,11-13/ Matthew 9:32-38

Crowded Compassion

In 2008 when Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in the Washington Nationals Park, one of my dearest friends called me, “Guess what,” he said. “I got tickets to go to the Pope’s Mass. Want to go?” “Thank you, but no,” I told him. “I couldn’t stand that crush of people.” “Not even for the Pope?” he said, incredulous. “Not even for the Pope,” I told him.

I don’t like being pressed on all sides by hundreds or thousands of people. Massive crowds drain me. In today’s Gospel reading when crowds press in around Jesus, “his heart was moved with pity.” Every one was a sheep in need of tending. A reader can tell that Jesus was sorrowful because He couldn’t tend to all of them right then.

Prayer: Tender Shepherd, increase my compassion.