A young mother was having one of the worst days of her life. Her husband lost his job; the water heater exploded; the postman brought a stack of bills she couldn’t pay; her hair was a mess; and she felt fat and ugly. She was almost at the “breaking point” as she lifted her little one-year-old into his highchair, leaned her head over against the tray, and began to cry. — Without a murmur, the little one took the pacifier out of his mouth… and gently placed it in hers!
COMPASSION: The little youngster didn’t know the word, but his heart knew the need. And he gave what he had! — In so many ways, we are the makers of one another’s worlds! Minute by minute, we CREATE the mini-world we live in, together. And most of the time, we haven’t a clue as to how huge our power is to bring joy or sorrow, healing or injury to one another!
For example, with the raise of an eyebrow or “a look,” we can sour someone’s whole day and never even notice it. — With a single word, we can close a door or kill a hope and never even see it. — By never listening, or always saying, “no,” or by never thanking, or always attacking, or by a million other little “bad habits,” we can shrivel hearts and rob people of JOYS, HOPES and FUTURES that COULD and SHOULD be theirs!
Even as I speak, you and I ARE CREATING a short-lived LITTLE WORLD right here in CHURCH! Other people, whose names we probably don’t even know, have set the stage for us. They’ve dusted, vacuumed, mopped, straightened the song books in the pews, and even turned on the air-conditioning for us. BUT, NOW IT’S OUR TURN! — Our turn to make this space a place that’s calm, peaceful, prayerful, and welcoming — a place where we can HELP EACH OTHER experience God’s loving presence; and God’s strength, comfort, and support — at least – for a little while.
We do that in countless ways: By the way we come in and the way we leave; by the way we sing and the way we pray together; by the way we listen and the way we respond; by the way we make room for one another; by the way we make quiet for one another. In SO MANY WAYS, we CREATE; OR we DESTROY, something wonderful!
And, THE WHOLE OF LIFE IS LIKE THAT! From the moment we open out eyes in the morning till we close them a night; we have the POWER to CREATE and the POWER to DESTROY; the POWER to SHARE OUR GIFTS (both large and small) – and the POWER to WITHOLD OUR GIFTS.
Probably none of us will ever encounter a dying man, lying at the side of the road (like the Good Samaritan, in today’s Gospel). — BUT, all of us will encounter thousands of people (DURING THE COURSE OF OUR LIFETIMES) whose lives WE can make a LITTLE RICHER, and a LITTLE HAPPIER, by “being there for them” and giving them what we have to share — just like the little tyke who gave away his pacifier!
And Jesus asked:
“Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
(The scholar of the law) answered:
“The one who treated him with mercy.”
And speaking of mercy….
At every moment, each of us has something to give, something that’s needed! But, are we willing to give it? — LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT! — Sharing our gifts is the only way we’ll ever find the MEANING in our lives; and the happiness that we CRAVE! — Sharing our gifts is the only way that we’ll ever grow into the image and likeness of our COMPASSIONATE God.