BRIDGEPORT— One of the great spiritual challenges we face as people may be to accompany others when they wrecking their own lives, said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano during his weekly online Mass from the Catholic Center chapel.
Reflecting on the account of the Loaves and Fishes in his homily at Mass for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the bishop said we must always walk with those who are suffering, even if they have brought it on themselves.
Bishop Caggiano began his homily by recalling the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” He said he grew up in a household where he left the house ready for school each day, and if he was not prepared or he made a bad decision, his father would remind him, “You made your bed, now lie in it.”
The bishop said the gospel of the loaves and fishes is very much about the same feeling. A crowd comes out to hear Jesus and stays the entire day, but the people are unprepared to feed themselves and the disciples urge Jesus to send them off.
“This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” (Matthew 14:15).”
“The Lord’s response is very different. He does not ask them to leave but through pity and compassion for the crowd, he feeds them. They came unprepared but he was willing to walk with them in their need.”
The same is true in our own lives, he said.
“We all know people who have made awful mistakes and have messed up their lives royally,” he said, and we are tempted to respond like the disciples in the gospel and tell them to “Dig yourself out. Move on.”
The bishop said that through the eyes of faith, we are able to summon the pity and compassion to accompany those who are suffering and lost.
“Pity is that great gift that allows someone to recognize the misery of the person before us, but not in a judgmental way.”
Compassion is the decision not to turn them away, “but to walk with them, suffer with them, and guide them so they may understand the consequences of their decisions… And then to go beyond that; to learn to be healed and to hear the word that will grant them in belief a way to find Jesus and follow him to eternal life.”
The bishop said in a world where we all makes mistakes—sometimes big mistakes— we don’t have to give up on each other.
“Through the gift of Eucharist and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Lord will help us to follow his example and bring them to greater life.”
Before giving the final blessing the bishop said he was praying for the faithful and their families and asked to be remembered in their prayers as well during these difficult times.
“May they also be times of opportunity for growth and renewal in our personal life and in the life of the Church.”
The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.