Scripture Reading: Job 14:7- 9
As we continue our reflection on the sufferings of believers, we are reminded that our suffering does not necessarily mean that God has forsaken us or is punishing us. Our suffering in Christ now is in view of eternity, it is in view of His glory; it has a redemptive purpose in God’s economy of salvation. So our suffering in Christ does not in essence mean that Satan is having his way, or that evil forces are gaining victory over our lives. The life of Joseph in Genesis, the experience of Daniel, the reality of the man born blind, the writings of the teacher in Proverb and Psalms, the life of Job, the tradition of the martyrdom of the apostles, the passion and death of Jesus… teach some hard scriptural truth, that no believer is immune from suffering. However, ours is not a hopeless misery, as the scriptural reference says, “At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.”
Beloved, there are times when we have to turn to God with mixed feelings, with pain and joy, with tears and hope; while at the same time not losing trust in His loving providence. There are times when the teachings of faith do not fit our experience well. What are we to do? Deny the authenticity of your experience? Reject the teaching of faith? Beg God to expand your understanding and integrate your faith and experiences. Ask for the grace to endure your sufferings without despair even when there appears to be no end in sight to the suffering. Ask God to grant you a compassionate heart like that of Jesus not to blame people for your sufferings. Blessed Mother Teresa narrated one of her experiences thus: “In twenty-five years we have picked up more than thirty-six thousand people from the streets and more than eighteen thousand have died a most beautiful death. When we pick them up from the streets we give them a plate of rice. In no time we revive them. A few nights ago we picked up four people. One was in a most terrible condition, covered with wounds, full of maggots. I told the sisters that I would take care of her while they attended to the other three. I really did all that my love could do for her. I put her in bed and then she took hold of my hand, She had such a beautiful smile on her face and she said only, “Thank you.” Then she died. She was hungry for love, and she received that love before she died. She spoke only two words, but her understanding of love was expressed in those two words.”
Many persons today suffer for things they do not know about. For
instance a young man was cramped into prison on his way back from work. He is simply a victim of unjust laws, wickedness and activities of ignorant and greedy police officers. This is gross injustice and to such persons, be assured that heaven will fight for you. There are some others suffering as a result of man’s greed and lack of love, victims of war and political corruption, those rejected and condemned by unjust societal structures and cultural practices, those who contacted diseases as a result of caring for the sick, those suffering as a result of demonic designs or human wickedness. Like Job, they should not lose faith in the power of God to restore all things in Christ, irrespective of the degree of damage done, such that even in their sufferings they can keep believing and professing “I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVETH”. Blessed Mother Teresa ends today’s reflection with these words: “Suffering will never be completely absent from our lives. So don’t be afraid of suffering. Suffering in and of itself is useless, but suffering that is shared with the passion of Christ is a wonderful gift and a sign of love. Christ’s suffering proved to be a gift, the greatest gift of love, because through His suffering our sins were atoned for. Remember that the passion of Christ ends always in the joy of the resurrection of Christ, so when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the resurrection has to come. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.”
Gal 3: 22-29; Ps 105: 2-3. 4-5. 6-7;l (R.8a); Acc Lk 11:28; Lk 11: 27-28
BVM (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
- Take this prayer: Thank You for the many precious promises in Your Word that reassure me that the various sufferings that I face today are but for a short time, and are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in me in the eternal ages to come. Thank You that the pain I must endure is but for a season, and will give way to joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, knowing that I have been promised an eternal rest, when all tears will be wiped from my eyes. All glory be to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts me in all my troubles, so that I can comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort that I myself receive from the Lord in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Exercise: Pay a visit to any hospital and encourage someone with these words of hope.
Memory Verse: Romans 12:12