“When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’” vs. 15
The disciple’s suggestion was a reasonable one. They had likely been excited by the prospect of a day with Jesus in a deserted place. But the crowds had followed, and Jesus, even though he had wanted the time away, had compassion on them and healed the sick. Now it was evening and the tired disciples thought it was time to send the crowds away. It was time for the people to take care of themselves. We call that feeling “compassion fatigue” and when it sets in we want to be free of needy people. We can even begin to resent the poor and the hungry who cross our paths. We see them with their signs on street corners or pushing their shopping carts full of collected junk and meager possessions along sidewalks and our hearts are not touched. There are even some who say we coddle the poor and have made them dependent, that all they need to do is find work and earn some money and they wouldn’t have to be on welfare. It’s hard to know what to do with such feelings…and it’s certainly difficult to come up with good solutions to the problems of the poor. One thing we can be confident of in our confusion: the answer is not “send the crowds away!
Thought for the Day: What do I feel when I see a needy person?