Constant faith through every sufferings is our theme today. In the first reading we have the image of the suffering servant who trusts in God despite fierce torture. Christ in the gospel, points to his own sufferings to come in the same spirit. Lets confess any ways we lack faith and trust in God during trials..
In Tralee town park there’s a monument to Rose Kennedy. Her sons Jack & Bobby were assassinated, the first while president of the USA. Yet her words on a plaque in the park show no bitterness: “its interesting to reflect on whats made my life, even with its moments of pain, an essentially happy one”, she says, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important element in human life is faith”. Tolstoy, author of War & Peace, reached the same conclusion. At 51, famous and the world’s great intellect, he felt empty inside. Then he says: “a light shone around & within me and hasn’t abandoned me since” – the light of Christ.
At this time, with sad things happening in the world we too need that saving light. Today’s gospel tells us where its to be found, not only in the light of Christ’s teachings, but also in the more mundane reality of the cross. By carrying our crosses with him, the unavoidable suffering of life can not only be endured but turned to gold. Peter, like Satan in the desert, wanted to keep Christ from the cross. But since suffering is an inescapable part of human life, our faith isn’t about trial-free witness. Its about taking up our crosses and following Christ in a believing that always involves overcoming suffering. Our call is to persevere in faith no matter what the world throws at us. Continuing to attend mass and the sacraments and continuing to witness to the faith as the faithful of his holy church. For only by facing ills couragiously will we grow in God’s life and in a faith that makes everything both bearable and deeply meaningful.
For our trust is in the crucified Christ not a corrupt passing world. The saddest casualities of our age are those who stop walking the way to deeper happiness with Jesus because of the challenges he poses. They pursue instead the illusory seemingly painless pleasures, values and wealth of this world, of which Satan is Lord, and let their light turns to darkness. So when trials come they’ve no solid ground to stand on. Like wise people such as Rose Kennedy or Tolstoy, they should realize that the world, the flesh, and the Devil leave us empty, but clinging to Christ brings untold riches for lifes struggles.
Another story proves this. Arrested by the communists because of his Christian faith, William Chiszek spent 15 yrs in labour camps in Siberia. He crawled in damp freezing mines with death always close. “Men the same as me died in the camps”, he says, “the difference was I trusted in God and so was never alone”. So faith is more than believing, its an eternal optimism, clinging to God through all crises. I often wonder why so many give up on life today. Perhaps one reason is that, deprived of God by a hard secular society, when they enter a crisis they’ve no solid ground to stand on, no reason or grace to go on. So I say to parents bringing children for baptism, what a gift you give your child, the lords light to guide them through every worldly trial. Faith is not an escape; there is no painless faith any more than there is painless life. But carrying our crosses with Christ we can turn our pain to light. That man in the salt mines proved that. So did Rose Kennedy. The one essential in her daily schedule was mass. Like all wise people she knew that the world’s vain godless values fade to ashes at last, but the crucified Christ is lord of love goodness, peace, and grace for this world and forever and ever amen. So God’s own, turning our crosses inot light as the faithful of his church. lets profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
“The just man lives by faith”, scripture says; as the just people of God trusting in Him always, we ask Him now for what we need.
For our Holy Father and all church leaders, that by their luminous faith they may bring the whole world to Life..
For civil leaders, may they see the infinite value of people’s faith and in governing never hinder its growth in any way..
For our youth, especially those tempted to give up on life because of trials, that in Christ they may find the grace and strength to light them through every suffering to glory..
For all in these difficult times, especially struggling families and the unemployed, that faith and trust in God may enable them to fight the good fight, until we return to better times..
For the sick and all those suffering in body or soul, that having recourse to every medical help first, and comforted by our love and care, they may face unavoidable suffering with courage and faith, and offer it up for the salvation of the world.
For the dead that the sufferings and joys of life at an end and their work done, they may come to the reward of the blessed.
We ask all these our prayers through the same Christ our Lord who on the cross won the victory for us his followers, amen.
“I make up in my body for anything lacking in the sufferings of Christ”, St.Paul says. In some mysterious way suffering borne for God and others in love is redemptive. It can be joined to the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of the world. That our pain is not in vain is a great consolation for the sick, it can help heal others. Lets pray to Mary for such faith..Hail Mary