He Was Moved With Pity
“… his heart was moved with pity for them …”
Jesus has healed a few other people of different infirmities prior to healing the mute person, also described as a “demoniac.” Immediately after Jesus heals him, the ordinary people proclaim “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” The Pharisees, instead, claim that Jesus commands devils to leave their victims not by the power of God, but by the power of the devil.
The people in the crowd marvel over the fact that neither they nor their ancestors had ever seen anything like this. In other words, they are saying that what Jesus is doing is even greater than the marvels the Lord had done through Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But then the Pharisees say that Jesus’ power comes from the devil! What a letdown! What dejection this must have caused in the crowd. These poor people—no wonder the Lord has pity on them.
Rather, all of these miracles are a direct sign that Jesus is the Messiah—that he is the one God promised to send: “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen” (Dt 18:15). Jesus himself tells John’s followers something similar when they come to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah (see Mt 11:2–6).
The truth is that we ourselves may at times attribute God’s gifts to other sources, such as luck or coincidence. We might even take away the joy of others when they bask in the marvels God has done for them. I think that Jesus’ heart “was moved with pity for them” when he saw the dejection that the crowds must have felt. He recognizes their need, my need, for a shepherd—someone who guides us to true life, God’s life. That Shepherd always takes delight in those he shepherds.
Jesus, I believe that you healed and continue to heal because you are God—the Messiah. But I don’t always recognize that all I am blessed with comes from God. Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I am gifted and blessed for other reasons. This attitude creates a distance between you and me. Help me to allow myself to be guided by you, my Shepherd. By allowing you to shepherd me, I will be healed and will become a healing presence for others. Then I may be among the laborers privileged to have been chosen by your father to work in his harvest. Amen.
Jesus, my shepherd, you have truly blessed me.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 242–243). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.