“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” Normally I preach on the theme of the Sunday readings, but the theme today is on suffering so I thought it would be more appropriate to write about it here. The type of suffering that the readings address is that which comes from the sins of others. That’s not usually the kind of suffering that people question because people can see why it happens. And yet, this is the suffering that is described in today’s Gospel because men caused Jesus’s Passion and death. What people often question is the suffering that has no apparent cause. They recognize that God didn’t cause things like a hurricane or the death of a child or COVID. But, they ask why did He allow it? There is a short answer and there is a long answer. Neither answer is complete because the Church herself says that suffering is ultimately a mystery. But I look forward to tackling the long answer with you in time whether privately or publicly. The short answer is sin. The prophet Jeremiah arrived at the short answer in chapter 14 of his Book in the Old Testament. “We recognize our wickedness, LORD, the guilt of our ancestors: we have sinned against you” (v. 20). This was right after he asked the Lord why He was allowing the terrible suffering of his people. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that all suffering is a result of sin; it’s either our sin, the sin of others, or Original Sin. God gave us free will and respects our freedom so much that He allows us to choose sin and experience the effects of it (e.g., suffering).
We really are free to choose good or evil. Much more to say on this… May you know the peace of Christ,
(Our Lady of the Visitation Parish)