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Become Something Special

You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while
Jeremiah 23:1-16; Psalm 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34

Sermon Week Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 6:31

A hospice chaplain was being interviewed about his work. At one point he said that over the previous weekend, eight of their thirty patients had died. Knowing that with hospice care, a close, family kind of relationship exists between the caregivers and the care-receivers, the interviewer asked, “What effect do so many deaths have on the staff?” The Chaplain replied with the moving story of one patient — one death. He said . . .

On Saturday, one of our patients who had been with us a couple of months was visited by her teenage son. It was a great morning because there were laughs and joyful conversation. At noon, the son said, “Mom, I’m meeting a friend for lunch, but I’ll be back in a little while.”

Shortly after the boy left, the patient called in her favorite nurse and said, “I think I’m dying.” The nurse checked the woman’s vital signs and said, “In all honesty, I think that it’s possible you may go soon.” Then the patient asked quietly, “Will you hold me? I think if you hold me I can do this well.” With that, the nurse got into the patient’s bed and cradled that poor emaciated body in her arms — and held her into eternity.

Visibly shaken by the story, the interviewer asked about the nurse and how it affected her. The Chaplain replied, “It hit her hard — so hard, in fact, that she has taken several days off to go to a quiet place in the mountains. She wants to think things out and decide whether or not she has the strength to come back to work again.” Then he added, “She’ll be back. You learn in a place like this that caring and compassion can hurt — and hurt very deeply. But when you really care, when your compassion is genuine, you not only offer something special, but also you become something special yourself.”

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus has compassion for His weary, hard-working brothers. "The Apostles returned to Jesus," Mark tells us, "and told Him all they had done and taught. And He [...]

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