Scripture Reading: Mark 8:34
Brethren how do you react to the challenges of life? Experience tells us that there are some people who receive special healings from God and others who do not. This is part of the deep mystery of suffering. Some of the most prayerful and holy people are not healed, while others who have hardly any faith are healed either supernaturally or medically. Some are healed after praying for just a moment, while others pray for years and are never healed.
God wants to give us his own divine grace to help us embrace the crosses of life. Jesus once told St. Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” These words so moved Paul that he was able to write: “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Embracing our cross with the help of God’s grace is quite different from nobly trying our best to accept our cross without grace. Those who embrace their cross through grace find themselves depending on God more and more each day. They find reserviour of strength, trust, and surrender that they know are not their own but that come from a loving, merciful God. Rather than dwell on their own sufferings, they find themselves moved with compassion for other people, even as they themselves endure pain and difficulty. In short, they become more and more like Jesus. The crosses we carry are not so much about the particular difficulties we face, but how we endure the challenges that come with it, the shame, the ridicules, the maltreatment, the abuses, the frustrations and gossips, etc.
This is the paradox of the cross: We accept suffering not because it is good and not because we like it, but as part of our vocation as followers of Jesus Christ. These crosses can become opportunities for us to grow closer to Jesus and give Him glory. As we commemorate the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ tomorrow, let us take a moment now to bless everyone you know who is carrying a heavy cross. Ask Jesus to send abundant grace to them, to help them and to bring them His peace.
MASS: WHITE Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Ex 12: 1-8. 11-14; Ps 116: 12-13. 15. 16bc. 17-18 (R. 1 Cor 10:16); 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Accl. Jn 13:34; Jn 13: 1-15 HOLY THURSDAY. AT EVENING, BEGIN EASTER TRIDUUM OF THE LORD’S PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION.
1. Lord Jesus, Redeemer of all, hear my prayer. For the love You bear to those who ask forgiveness, look mercifully on me, as once You looked on Mary Magdalene and on Peter who denied You. Call me from darkness to my Father’s house, give me a new heart and a place at Your side at the banquet of Your kingdom. Amen.
Exercise: Take the “Stations of the Cross” in “Amen: It is Done” (pg. 25)