Day 20: Fueled To Be Empathetic Companions

BY PAUL JARZEMBOWSKI | March 4th, 2024
Today’s readings

Since I was a child, there were many moments in life when I felt like an outsider–that I didn’t really belong to any group or community. Sometimes it shut me down, causing me to spiral downward. 

I would imagine that many feel this way at some point in their life and a number feel it constantly. It is reported that one in four people are experiencing loneliness at this very moment. 

The Gospel today tells us that Jesus also experienced a moment of isolation and rejection when he was trapped in a confrontational situation and marginalized for his teachings in his own hometown. We can imagine Jesus likely felt like an outsider: alone and afraid, especially as his own peer community wanted to “hurl him down headlong” to his death (Lk 4:29). One wonders if this traumatic experience at Nazareth was integral to Jesus’ own ministry of journeying with those on the margins who deal with such trauma. Could the people of his day sense that Jesus knew what marginalization felt like, and as such, were more receptive to his healing?


Instead of hiding our wounds, we, too, are called to prayerfully discern how our experiences of trauma or feeling like an outsider can be integrated into our mission of justice for those on our margins. It can be a refreshing moment to rediscover that the distance between us and those in pain with whom we minister is not as far as we might initially imagine. 

These wounds and painful memories can help us to rise above being charitable stewards. They can fuel us to be empathetic companions on the way of justice. Even more so, they help us to concretize the Gospel vision that, in a true civilization of love, no one is ever really an outsider. 


  • What are the wounds of rejection, isolation, and loneliness we have experienced in life?
  • How can our own wounds amplify our work as empathetic companions on the way of justice?
  • How can we support others as they navigate experiences of rejection, isolation, or loneliness?
3 replies
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    When one has walked along the margins of society, felt rejected, isolated and lonely, it is easier to have empathy for those in similar situations. To walk with those who have experienced trauma. To offer healing to those who have faith.
    Instead of asking why me? I asked, how can I use this experience to help others?

  2. Silvia Munoz
    Silvia Munoz says:

    I believe my experience as a 14 year old at a new school, a new country and not quite able to speak the language, has made me feel empathy for others in similar situations. You feel their pain.

  3. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    While we can all have empathy & compassion, it’s much easier to understand what someone is going through & what they need, if we’ve experienced something similar ourselves.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *