The Word of God

Suffering As A Deep Mystery


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 14, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

What is the mystery of suffering? Maybe we should begin with the penalty for complaining. It did not go well for the people in the First Reading: “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.” The problem was simple: they forgot who good God had been to them and just focused on the things in the present moment without giving thanks to the One who always took care of them. Thus, the Psalmist made it clear to them and us what we must all do: “Do not forget the works of the Lord!”

None of us like to suffer. We avoid pain and discomfort. Our whole society and culture are seemingly built around the basic premise that we must avoid all pain. The problem, however, is simple and tragic. No one can avoid suffering. No one can escape death. The simple message of today is this: Life is not a question about whether or not you are going to suffer; it is a question of HOW. We who believe in Jesus know the answer to that question. We suffer WITH Him so we can RISE with Him. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Which path will I take today? Whose promise will I place my entire trust?

“When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” St. Sebastian Valfre

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