“During those days a large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people...”
This passage from the 8th chapter of Mark describes the miracle of Jesus feeding the 4,000. It brings comfort to see the way God in Christ is moved by people’s suffering with such deep compassion. Jesus looked out at the thousands of hungry faces looking back at him and felt pure love and compassion. He could not let them go away hungry. We see Jesus acting on behalf of the suffering over and over again in the Gospels...whether people are gripped with illness, fear, shame, or hunger...and we find Jesus bringing healing and meeting the needs of those he encounters.
When and if you begin to feel overwhelmed with the knowledge of the thousands of people who are suffering now from the coronavirus – I invite you to bring the image from this story to your mind – and see Jesus looking out at the crowds of the suffering with his abiding compassion. We can join Jesus in that compassion and act with him in prayer and acts of mercy on behalf of those who suffer. And we can rest in the deep and abiding knowledge that each and every one of us is known to God and loved by God: we are held by God’s mercy and compassion in life, in illness, and in all that we face.
Be well. This too shall pass. In the meantime we pray.