Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a beautiful story of human kindness and compassion of two famous people who know what is important for them. It’s about 2 of the 3 tenors, Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Even if you have never visited Spain, we all know of the rivalry between Catalans and Madrilenos. It so happened, that Placido Domingo is from Madrid, and Jose Carreras is from Barcelona. For political reasons in 1984 Carreras and Domingo became enemies. Being that they were very popular and much sought after around the world both stated in their contracts that they would perform on one condition, if the other wasn’t invited. In 1987 Carreras met up with an enemy more implacable than his rival Placido Domingo. He was diagnosed with Leukaemia. His fight against cancer was a painful one. He had to travel to the USA once a month for treatments. The high cost of these treatments and travel expenses depleted his finances. When at the end of his financial ability he discovered a foundation in Madrid, the sole purpose of which was the support of treatment for the sufferers of Leukaemia. Thanks to the support from this foundation, Carreras recovered from his cancer and returned to singing. Once again, he attained an elevated status and he wanted to join the foundation. Reading their by-laws, he discovered that the Founder, leading contributor and president of the Foundation was Placido Domingo. He later found out that Placido Domingo formed this organization to help him with his treatment, but he chose to remain anonymous in order not to humble him in accepting help from his rival. But the most moving part of the story is their encounter. Surprising Placido at one of his performances, Carreras interrupted the event and humbly knelt at his feet, asked him forgiveness and publicly thanked him. This sealed the beginning of a great friendship. A reporter asked Placido why he had created the foundation, at a time when benefiting his competitor. His answer was short and concise. ‘We cannot afford to lose a voice like that.’ In today’s gospel we have a beautiful example of compassion in Jesus. He sees people coming towards him, they are lost, they are like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus wants to help them, to guide them, and to save them. Am I a compassionate person?  When I see someone in need, do I feel something inside of me  that wants to help? Do I see them as Jesus sees them? There is someone who will need my help today, a little bit of my time, a helping hand or a smile, especially during these challenging times. Many of us cannot afford to set up a foundation, but there is a lot we can do to help, support and be compassionate with other people.  Let us avail of  the opportunites we get to help the people in need, to share the compassion of Jesus.