MONDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT
READ: DANIEL 9:4B-10
"Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you
and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,our fathers,
and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day:
we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem,
and all Israel, near and far,
in all the countries to which you have scattered them
because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers,
for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!
Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God,
to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets."
"But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!" We hear that word compassion often, but do we really know what it means? The word compassion comes from the Latin word meaning, "to suffer with". This is what our God does in our lives--He suffers with us. By us. For us.
Christ suffers with us. Jesus Christ, when he walked this earth, knew human suffering. He was rejected, humiliated, criticized. He felt human emotion--pity, sadness, sorrow. He wept. Hebrews 4:15 says that, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." Jesus understands the pain and suffering of the human heart, for he, too, experienced it.
Christ suffers by us. Every day of our lives brings with it suffering. Some days, the suffering is light--busy schedules, disobedient children, heavy traffic, difficult homework. But other days, the suffering is heavy and we may feel as though we cannot bear it. Some of us are mourning the loss of a loved one. Some of us are struggling to pay the bills. Some of us are feeling rejected and unwanted by friends at school. Some of us are facing great difficulty in our marriage. We suffer because of fear. Loneliness. Depression. Addiction. We all have some area in our life where we are suffering, but our faith reminds us that WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS SUFFERING. Christ comes to meet us, to walk alongside us, to be the soothing balm for the wounds in our hearts.
And Christ suffers for us. Each of us has brought on suffering in our own lives as a result of our sins. Our sin has not only created discord and hurt in our relationships with others, but it was our sins that separated us from God. And it was for this reason that the Word became flesh. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (John 3:16). God so loved the world that he sent Jesus to suffer for us.
Today, let us stand in gratitude to our Lord who is rich in compassion, the God who suffers with us, by us, and for us.
Why is it significant that Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and our sufferings?
What suffering do you bring to prayer today?
What is keeping you from bringing your suffering to Jesus?
What is your response to Jesus' suffering for your sin?
Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins. Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God our savior, because of the glory of your name; Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name's sake. Let the prisoners' sighing come before you; with your great power free those doomed to death. Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; through all generations we will declare your praise. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Spend some time today in silence. In your heart, speak to Jesus of the suffering you are experiencing--whether light or heavy. Ask for the grace to know and feel his comfort. Better yet, stop by one of the churches today and visit Jesus Christ, the God of compassion, present in the Tabernacle.