*Alternate* Second Reading: “The Cup of Sacrifice” by Joyce Rupp

Compassion has a price. It does not come without a cost, the least of which is the pain that pierces our own hearts as we accompany anyone who is suffering. When we speak out and take a stand against injustice, our compassion can cost us ridicule, rejection, and loss of friends. When we are willing to be present with one who is in physical or emotional pain, our compassion can cost us our precious time and energy. Compassion urges us to move out of our comfortable niches of security. Compassion stretches us and asks us to let go of apathy and indifference. Compassion refuses to accept excuses of busyness, ignorance, or helplessness. Compassion invites us to reach out to those who suffer, ‘to live’ as Sharon Salzberg notes, ‘with sympathy for all living beings without exception.’ O, how I sometimes wish that the ‘without exception’ part could be ignored. The God of compassion has shown us a loving face; now we are to be that reflection in return. We are to be the presence of God to another.

The words of Joyce Rupp.

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