Tuesday of Week 1 in Ordinary Time
“but we do see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels…by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.
There is a quote in one of my favourite novels, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, that goes, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” This was a good lesson about empathy in the book. Atticus, the father, was trying to explain to his young daughter, Scout, about seeing things from her teacher’s perspective when she came home upset for being reprimanded in class. It’s a difficult thing to teach to a child, let alone a grown-up, and most grown-ups still struggle with empathy. How often have we caught ourselves using the phrase, “But you don’t understand me/my situation”? In our minds, we find it difficult that someone who hasn’t been in our situation would be able to offer us a solution to our problems. I believe this is why someone like Mother Teresa (or Saint Teresa of Calcutta) appealed to so many people, for she lived among the poor and desolate, tended to the sick and the dying, accepted the rejected, and loved them all.
Before her time though, there was one man who did the same, who walked the earth among those who needed help the most — the sick, the widows and children, the faithless and the loveless, the condemned. It was all done in the name of love, but also empathy. For it was God’s will that this man, His Son, would be the saviour of mankind and to do so, he needed to first experience the struggles and weaknesses of man. Hebrews 2:18 says, “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted”. We would be more willing to go with Jesus because he understands us and has been through what we have been through, even faced with the temptation of sin. We would be more open to his help because he was one of us for a while, our ‘brother’.
Therefore, it would be remiss for us to say, “God, you don’t understand me” because He does. Jesus was the bridge between the divine and the human; he was God in the flesh. Our times may be different, our situations more complex than life back then, but our troubles and stresses are no different. Armed with this confidence, I know I can bring my troubles to God, knowing that He sees me and understands me, and His solutions are for me.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, our human empathy is so imperfect in comparison to yours. You have a bigger heart than we can ever imagine. I pray that we can each experience a sliver of your empathy, enough to set aside our own troubles and see the troubles others are facing around us too.
Thanksgiving: Lord, we give you thanks for always understanding our problems, no matter their magnitude. I don’t feel afraid lifting them up to you, for I know you hear us all.