Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California
This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Suffering and The Work of Salvation
In His messianic activity in the midst of Israel, Christ drew
increasingly closer to the world of human suffering. "He went about
doing good," and His actions concerned primarily those who were
suffering and seeking help. He healed the sick; consoled the
afflicted; fed the hungry; freed people from deafness, from blindness,
from leprosy, from the devil and from various physical disabilities;
three times He restored the dead to life. He was sensitive to every
human suffering, whether of the body or of the soul. And at the
same time He taught, and at the heart of His teaching there are
the eight beatitudes, which are addressed to people tried by
various sufferings in their temporal life....
At any rate, Christ drew close above all to the world of human
suffering through the fact of having taken this suffering upon His
very self. During His public activity, standing even on the part of
those closest to Him, but, more than anything, He became progressively
more and more isolated and encircled by hostility and the preparations
for putting Him to death. Christ is aware of this, and often speaks to
His disciples of the suffering and death that await Him: "Behold, we
are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to
the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death
and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon
him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise."
Christ goes towards His passion and death with full awareness of the
mission that He has to fulfill precisely in this way. Precisely by
means of this suffering He must bring it about "that man should not perish,
but have eternal life." Precisely by means of His cross He must accomplish
the work of salvation. This work, in the plan of eternal Love, has a
-- Blessed Pope John Paul II
"On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering", #16
Christ has no body now on earth, but yours,
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ
must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless
-- Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)