5th Sunday of Easter
“We all have to experience many hardships…before we enter the kingdom of God.”
Happy Easter. As Catholics, we celebrate Easter for 50 days in Eastertide (as opposed to the 40 days of Lent). Rightly so, as the Resurrection of Christ has brought forth redemption for us and the whole world! Definitely worth celebrating!
Recently I had a discussion with a friend and the question of suffering came up. Looking around us in this present day, there are so many people who suffer, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. The wars that rage on, the injustices, the betrayals by governments, societal leaders and even people we love and trust; it all seems quite disheartening and hopeless. All these hardships and sufferings, the load seems too heavy to bear.
If you are looking for an answer to the age-old question here, you will not find it. I don’t know why there has to be suffering. But I do know one thing — when we look at suffering, we are looking at it on the human level. Yes, I know, we are human, how else could we look at things? There is a higher level of looking at things – through God’s eyes. Do you believe that God loves us and wants the best for us? That he is not some sadistic deity that enjoys the discomfort of His children? That He has a master plan for all of us, but it is up to us to work with Him to achieve this goal — the goal of eternal life with the Holy Trinity in Heaven?
If you believe that God loves us, you must also believe that He has our good in mind; because that is the meaning of love – willing the good of another. So, whatever He serves up is for the betterment of our souls. Just as Jesus suffered to redeem us, we need to do our part to share in His redemption. Do we pray for suffering? Of course not. But we embrace it when it is handed to us, and offer it to God by joining our suffering to Jesus’ cross. This is a mystery that is beyond our comprehension.
The best analogy I can think of is that of rehabilitation. When we have suffered a serious injury, we need rehab. It is often a painful and slow process, but we need to go through the exercises to regain our health. The same goes for suffering — we are exercising for our spiritual health so we can be united to Christ.
Does this all seem depressing? Non-Catholics, even some Catholics, think that our faith is so depressing; that we are all about suffering, doom and gloom. They are missing the whole picture. In fact, our faith offers us great hope. The hope we have is not based on humans, government, society or empty idols that are fallible. When we place our hope in those earthly beings, we are often disappointed. Our hope comes from a Divine source that is infallible, that never runs out, that is based on Divine truth and offers eternal life. We will never be disappointed with Christ. He sustains us in this journey we call life. He gives us the strength, the peace and the joy to face whatever may come, in the hope that we will receive new life with our Lord in Heaven.
Brothers and sisters, I don’t know about you, but that all sounds amazing and worth rejoicing over!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Lord of all hope, in the darkness and brokenness of this world, provide us with Your guiding light. Grant us the grace of hope of uniting with You in Heaven, and to share in Your eternal glory.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for providing us with a beacon of light amidst all the bleakness. Thank you for providing us with the hope that doesn’t fade or change with time, but is sustaining and eternal.