Today’s Gospel alerts us to our unintended sins of insensitivity. It presents us with Jesus being overcome with sorrow over what lay ahead for him. He pictured his high priests passing a death sentence on him. He pictured the soldiers having fun by turning him into a fool’s king with a crown, not of gold, but of thorns. In his imagination those soldiers were bowing before him, raising their faces to spit in his face.
Feeling his coming disgrace was almost more than his sensitive nature cold bear. He turned to his disciples for sympathy, but they ignored him.
Instead, James and John, whom he looked on as close friends, had their mother come before him, asking him to make political big shots out of her sons. And, did the other disciples give him any comfort? No. They were just unhappy about the possibility of James and John ending up with more clout than they would have.
When it is said with sincerity there are few words finer than these: “My heart goes out to you.” When we are walking St. Vincent’s corridors how many suffering souls do we pass ever minute? How often do our hearts go out to them? Their pain would be more bearable if we shared it with them.
I often laugh over a memory of an insensitive moment. Remember that movie “Schindler’s List?” It portrayed boxcar after boxcar of Jewish men, women and children being shipped off to be stuffed into ovens. I went to see it with an Irish priest friend of mine. Just when I was close to throwing up with horror, my friend started getting up to buy something, and he asked me, “Would you like a coca cola?”
Another case that occurs to me has to do with a nun who taught out at Lake City. Taking a summer course in California. She was rooming with a nun from Korea, and on this Sister Anne mentioning my name, the nun from Korea said, “We used to have a Father Tom Sullivan in Korea. I wonder if it could be the same one.”
Sister Anne asked, “What was he like?” And the nun from Korea said, “”Going to confession to him I mentioned my worry over my father’s fading health; and all Father Sullivan did was look out the window.”
Sister Anne said, “Sounds like the same priest.”