The tin can was invented in 1810. The can opener was invented fifty-five years later.
Problems are often with us for a long time before solutions are found. The all-pervasive problem of human suffering had been around long before Job, who struggled to find a solution and ultimately discovered it in trusting in divine providence. But the fullest grasp of that solution was not available until much later through the example of Jesus.
Jesus was well acquainted with the problem of suffering and knew before it happened that he would drink of this cup (the cup chalice is a traditional scriptural symbol of deep suffering: see Psalm 75:18; Ezekiel 23:31-34). Jesus predicted his own suffering along with a challenge: "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" (Mt 20:22). Later in his agony he prayed three times, "If it be possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will" (Mt 26:39-44). Having foreseen the inevitable, still Jesus asked to be exempted from it. (Job had made a similar request; see his parallel prayer in Job 6:8-9).
Jesus' prayer strikes us as enigmatic—and we are even more mystified by the fact that Scripture says his prayer was heard: "He offered up prayers and petitions to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission" (Heb 5:7).
But Jesus died a torturous death! In what sense can we say his prayer was heard? This question has been puzzled over and analyzed for centuries by Scripture scholars, who have come up with three possible explanations or "solutions," each of which might also provide spiritual insights for dealing with our own sufferings. These insights may be called three ways to carry a cross. Separately or together, they may help us bear our personal crosses. We will discuss these three solutions in following articles.
This excerpt is from the book The Art of Loving God by John H. Hampsch, C.M.F., originally published by Servant Publications, 1995. This and other of Fr. Hampsch's books and audio/visual materials can be purchased from Claretian Teaching Ministry, 20610 Manhattan Pl, #120, Torrance, CA 90501-1863. Phone 1-310-782-6408.