From the book “Discernment” by Henri Nouwen; “Pain and Suffering” are no longer obstacles to the glory of eternal life, they have become the inevitable way to it”.
Jesus Christ suffered a great deal more than the Cross before He went to Calvary. There are, according to the bible, at least 10 passages relating to that fact. Here are some:
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house”. Mk. 6: 4.
“I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name you will accept him”. Jn. 5: 43.
“Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district” Mt. 8: 34.
Jesus said to them; “Did you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes”? Mt.21: 42.
In my reflection “God Feels Our Pain” I alluded to the fact that in His Ministry Jesus was rejected often, as can be seen above, and the pain He suffered began early and it would have been enough to redeem us.
To suffer for the Kingdom could become a contradiction if it were not for the words of Jesus; Then he said to all; “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself”? Lk. 9: 23-25.
We may ask; “so what will I suffer on my daily walk in this modern society”? A elderly parent is in dire straits financially, but you can only hand out a small token at Christmas; “After all doesn’t he/she have Social Security”? “Why didn’t he/she save more money”? A pain of loss which is not much to assist a loved one.
“How can you ask me to care for these stupid people on opioids when I never was that weak”? “They should die if they can’t help themselves”. “I have my own problems so please do not bug me to look after him, even if he is my own son”.
Suffering can be characterized as more than individual pain or disease especially when we may be confronted with the moral obligation of simple caring for another human being. They don’t have to be strangers. Usually the most destitute and vulnerable are right in our own families. Step back and become objective to the strangers in our midst who in actuality are just estranged by our blindness to a much deeper crisis within our line of vision. Jesus suffered, not because of the ignorance of enemies but the intense need of you and me to be forgiven and redeemed. That need became His Mission and He chose to suffer humility, rejection, and death; all for you and me. His suffering was redeeming! What will we suffer for our own redemption?
This excerpt is from the book One-Minute Meditations for Busy People, by John H. Hampsch, C.M.F., originally published by Servant Publications. It and other of Fr. Hampsch's books and audio/video recordings can be purchased from Claretian Teaching Ministry, 20610 Manhattan Pl, #120, Torrance, CA 90501-1863. Phone 1-310-782-6408 or www.Catholicbooks.net