We have just heard the story of Jesus’ horrendous suffering. Many people misunderstand the meaning of suffering. They can be angry with God thinking that God should protect them from suffering. So, when suffering descends, the questions arise, “Is God angry with me?”, “Does God not care about me?”, “Is God testing me?”, or “Does God really exist?”
We see in Jesus’ life how God relates to suffering and not only upon the Cross. For example, Jesus didn’t prevent the death of Lazarus. Instead, he transformed Lazarus’ experience of suffering and death so that it became a life-giving experience. And that’s the point: Jesus transforms the experience of suffering as being the place where life and meaning are found.
Precisely in the midst of suffering are we tested by God to embrace the fullness of life. It awakens us spiritually so we are able to embrace Jesus, becoming one with him who defeated suffering and death. It is in these precious moments of suffering that we are capable of forming our hearts after the image of God. Rejoice then. Even in suffering life and God are found to the full.
I want to make three brief points this Passion Sunday. First, In the euthanasia debate do we see the truth that our suffering united to that of Jesus, is redemptive? If so, lobby your local MP.
Second, during Holy Week make an effort to spend time in prayer thinking about the extent of Jesus’ suffering. The Lord willingly entered into his Passion. The only reason is his Love for us – so take Jesus’ love for you personally. Sit with this idea as much as you can this week. Do this an you will respond to such an excess of Love.
Third. One way to respond to God’s love is by going to confession so to prepare yourself for Easter.