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Compassion Fatigue?

Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you
II Kings 5:14-17; Psalm 98:1-4; II Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19

Sermon Week Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 17:19

There is a psychological condition known as "compassion fatigue.” Sometimes referred to as the negative cost of caring, it is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others. Yet, as a community of Christians, we know that exercising our compassion ultimately strengthens us, and expressing compassion for others is at the heart of today's Gospel.

There is the story of a family that was living in cramped quarters. Good fortune struck, and they were able to move into a much larger home. Someone asked the ten-year-old boy in the family how he liked his new house. He said, "I like it a lot. Now I have a room all to myself, and so do each of my sisters." Then he paused for a moment and said, "But I feel sorry for mom. She still has to stay in dad's room." Although he misunderstood the situation, it was clear that the little boy was expressing a genuine feeling of compassion for his mom.

The compassion of Jesus has drawn people to Him in his earthly ministry and in the centuries since. This is central to the Christian faith. Christians may disagree on many issues. But the image of the compassionate Christ and the good news of the forgiveness of sins is at the heart of the matter for all believers.

The grand story of Luke's Gospel can be summarized in a speech by the apostle Peter (Acts 10:36-43). It is the story of the one who was anointed by the power and the Spirit. He went about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, healing those in need, was killed, was raised on the third day, and appeared to his witnesses. It was ordained that through His death and resurrection, Jesus would suffer and so "enter into his glory" (Luke 24:26).

A major newspaper-1 once ran a cartoon that depicted a preacher standing in front of his congregation with the ushers preparing to take up the offering. The preacher says, "I want to remind you, good people, that the cost of salvation has gone [...]

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