Commentary on the Gospel of
(Not) Being Empathic
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines empathy as: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” Some are born with the gift of empathy. Some have to really work hard at practicing empathy. In today’s gospel neither the disciples nor the mother of the sons of thunder show empathy towards Jesus. Here is Jesus achingly confiding in his beloved ones the heart-breaking reality of his impending death. But they do not have a word of consolation for him. Worse, some choose that very moment or immediately after, to bring up issues of their preferred seating arrangements in heaven! Mercifully, Jesus was empathy-incarnate. Without taking offence, but setting aside his own pain, he gives them a patient, kind hearing.