sexta-feira, 1 de julho de 2016


I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
Isaiah 50:6 (read Isaiah 50:4-9) NIV

In this meditation, we use the word "passion to mean the suffering that is caused by "compassion”. Compassion is feeling touched by the suffering of others and the desire to relieve them. Passion and compassion are inextricably linked. Compassion means “to suffer with”.

In the background of the text reproduced above, there are many parallels with the present day. The people were discouraged and tired and had little prospect of improvement. Their calamities came one after another, one worse than the other with no solutions or relief. This story still continuously repeats itself.

The author, Isaiah, had assumed the role of "Servant of God". He sought to deliver a message to reverse the situation. But his actions only brought complications to his life. He even became an object of scorn and abuse of the people whom he wanted to help. His compassion for the suffering of his people made him suffer.

Many years later, the followers of Jesus saw in the prophet Isaiah a parallel in the life and ministry of their Master. Jesus, too, moved by compassion, gave his life to save his people. He, too, ended up being attacked and killed by the same people whom he wanted to help. Christianity adopted the cross as the symbol of the relationship between passion and compassion.

Suffering is a common theme in the Bible where the word "suffering" appears 88 times, "to suffer" 75, "suffered"13, "suffers" 12, "distressed" 28, "distress" 65, "to cry" 65, "crying" 34, "tears" 40 and "sadness" 112. In only these ten words, the theme appears 532 times. The frequency of this theme in the Bible reflects its presence in real life. Suffering is one of the inevitable realities of life in the yesterdays and the todays.

The worst suffering is that which is the result of human selfishness. It is precisely this that presents the biggest challenge. Evil people call for violence when they feel threatened. The list of martyrs is great both inside and outside of the Bible. In our days the persecution, criminalization or assassination of the honest and courageous people who stand in the way of the interests of the corrupt and unscrupulous in both private and public sectors is common. Even within the religious and charitable institutions those who displease those in power are persecuted and discriminated against. Today’s reprisals go beyond back beating, beard pulling, mocking and spitting.

It is dangerous for those who have compassion for the victims of selfishness and try to get to the roots of social evil. It is safer to do good in a way that does not offend anybody. Limiting ourselves to giving alms, offerings and tithes usually doesn’t threaten those in power and makes us feel good about ourselves.

What is the extent of our "com-passion"? Our hope is in those who take on the role of Isaiah and Jesus in society outside the churches by taking to the “streets” where the wronged and suffering people are found.


The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.

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