SHARING COMPASSION – Second Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 6, Year A; Body and Blood of Christ (RC)

June 14, 2020

Revised Common Lectionary

Genesis 18:1-15 or Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 or Psalm 100
Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35 – 10:8 (9-23)

Lectionary for Mass (RC)

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20 (12)
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58



Bill Noonan taught me more about Jesus than just about anyone I can think of, but I don’t remember very much of what he said.

What I do recall is how he picked up pieces of used furniture from people’s homes and delivered them to those in need. I remember how he started and then went on to manage a winter shelter for homeless men in our church. I remember how he welcomed Hmong refugee families, got them settled in new homes, and maintained caring relationships with them right up to the time of his death.

Bill didn’t just teach me about Jesus. He showed me Jesus through works of compassion.

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus not only teaching and proclaiming, but also doing works of healing. His heart was filled with compassion for the crowds because “they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36). He chose twelve apostles to go out and do the same—to proclaim the good news of God’s reign and to bring healing, life, and freedom to those in need.

Notably absent from Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as they went out is any mention of teaching. They were to proclaim the reign of God and perform the acts of compassion that reveal it: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Mt 10:8). Not until the very end of Matthew’s Gospel does the risen Christ give them authority to teach: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Only those whose hearts have been shaped by doing the works of compassion can teach others the way of discipleship.

Over the past weeks we have witnessed compassion in the words and actions of those who are speaking up to expose the sin of racism in our society and standing with victims of injustice. During these past months we have learned much about the love of Christ in the example of family, friends, health care workers, pastoral ministers, and others in their care for the sick, the dying, and the grieving. The compassion they have shared strengthens our hope and reminds us that God’s reign is near indeed. They have not merely taught us about Jesus. They have shown us Jesus.

A Hymn for Today: “Halleluya! We Sing Your Praises”

On this Sunday Roman Catholics in the U.S. and Canada observe a feast in honor of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Gospel reading for today is drawn from the bread of life discourse (John 6), in which Jesus identifies himself as the bread of life following one of his best-known acts of compassion, the feeding of the multitude.

Catholics customarily refer to the Eucharistic celebration as the Mass, from the Latin missa, meaning “sent.” This term underscores the connection between the Lord’s Supper and mission. Those who are fed at the Lord’s table are sent to proclaim the Good News by the witness and service of their lives.

This South African song makes an explicit connection between the gift of Christ’s self that we receive at the table and the mission for which we are sent. The musical setting evokes a sense of deep and abundant joy in God’s goodness and in the mission to share with others the gifts we have received.

Halleluya! We sing your praises,
all our hearts are filled with gladness.
Halleluya! We sing your praises,
all our hearts are filled with gladness.

1 Christ the Lord to us said:
I am wine, I am bread;
I am wine, I am bread,
give to all who thirst and hunger.

2 Now he sends us all out,
strong in faith, free of doubt;
strong in faith, free of doubt,
tell to all the joyful Gospel.

Text: South African; trans. Gracia Grindal. © 1984 Ultryck, admin. Walton Music Corp. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Jesus cures the man born blind, JESUS MAFA (Cameroon), 1973

“Word and Song: A Lectionary Reflection” is written by the Executive Director of The Hymn Society, Rev. Dr. Mike McMahon. For his full bio, click here and scroll down to the “staff” section.