2015-7-19 “From Compassion to Passion” Sermon by Tezenlo Thong

From Compassion to Passion

(Mark 6:30-34, 53-56)

We all have compassion. But the level of compassion may vary. Some are naturally more kind hearted and easily given to compassion. Others are a little skeptical and judgmental than others. One day after ministry, Jesus was feeling exhausted and was getting ready to retire for rest. But there was a large crowd. And when Jesus saw them he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Both compassion and passion have the same root meaning. Compassion comes from Latin word com (with) and pati (to suffer). In its original meaning, compassion means to suffer with. It means to feel sympathy for. Passion also comes from Latin pati (to suffer). It means suffering or martyrdom. In Christianity, the Passion refers to the period between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.

I once read an author who differentiated compassion and passion this way. Let me paraphrased it. When we watch tragedy on the TV we are moved. Or when we read tragic news on daily newspapers we are touched by it. We are sometimes moved to tears. That’s compassion. Feeling sympathy for people in tragic situation is compassion. But how many times do such tragic pieces of news move us to action? Passion is when we decide to do something about that which touched our hearts. Passion is translating our sympathy into action. True compassion is not empty sensationalism. It does not end with pity. It becomes action.

Jesus opened his eyes to the people around him, and he didn’t look away to avoid becoming one with the people. He became emotionally vulnerable and shared in their pain. He took action. He translated his compassion to action. His compassion became his passion. We are called to be compassionate and merciful as he was. Indeed, we are called to show compassion rather than condemnation. We are called to put our compassion into action. Our emotion or feeling of sensation and pity needs to become practical compassion.

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church


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