Around 35 years ago, I remember my dearest aunt dying…visiting her in the hospital with my mom. I can still remember my mom’s words: “She does not deserve to suffer like this.” It took me awhile to learn that perhaps the question to ask is how will this suffering will lead to God? On this Passion Sunday, we reflect on sharing in the cross of Jesus Christ – uniting our suffering with Jesus.
Through the course of a lifetime, we experience blessings, but we also experience suffering. We do not know why some people suffer more than others.
Why is there suffering? That’s a question we can answer – a product of the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus started the kingdom of God while he walked the earth. This is the kingdom that we pray for to come in the Our Father…each time we do the Will of God on earth as it’s done in heaven, we bring that kingdom closer to full fruition… so we know that this kingdom is not complete, it’s work in progress. We anxiously await “new heavens and a new earth” (Rev21:1), where “He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away.” (Rev21:4)
St. Paul wrote: “I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God…Yes, we know that all creation groans and is in agony even until now.” (Rom8:18-19, 22) Our world of suffering, pain, sin, evil and death is eclipsed by our destiny to share in the glory of God! St. Paul tells us that just as creation shares in the penalty of the sin of man and woman, it will one day share in future glory promised by God. For now, both humanity and creation suffer. We share in the sufferings of Christ and we will share in his glory! This is our hope – a hope rooted in knowing that God’s infinite love was manifested in the delivering his own Son to death, for our salvation.
Through Jesus Christ, we can overcome all our sufferings and trials. This is what we reflect on today. Jesus calls each one of us to meditate on his sufferings, to unite our sufferings with his and offer them for the conversion of souls (especially our own), the souls in purgatory and souls most in need of his mercy.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us this Lent! Deacon Mike