Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Suffering Servant

Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many. (Is. 53:10)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,but one who has similarly been tested in every way. (Heb. 4:15)

Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. (Mk. 10:43)

Suffering is the central idea in this Sunday's readings. More than one Catholic sitting in Mass this weekend may have thought, "Wait a minute . . . isn't being a Catholic Christian about joy, peace, and other warm, fuzzy feelings?"

Didn't See That Coming
Here at the beginning of the Year of Faith, we believers are confronted with the reality of the Christian life: that Christ calls us not only to live a life of suffering, but also to make use of that suffering.

Christ himself is referred to as the "suffering servant" in Isaiah, and our redemption was gained through his suffering and death on the cross.  Many of the apostles suffered and were martyred, and lots of saints earned the title through heroic suffering in the name of God. Along those lines, a few weeks ago I wrote about suffering and its power to shape us into the people God desires us to be. (Don't Give Up)  

Time for Reflection
If we're going to grow faith-filled kids, this is one big, important aspect of being a believer that we'd better get straight right from the start! Consider taking some time to reflect on your own suffering, and how you respond to it in your life. (If there's one thing of which I'm certain, it's that anyone reading this is suffering . . . you're human, after all.)

What is causing your suffering?
How have you responded to it in the past?
If you haven't already done so, can you offer it to Christ?

Like my elementary school principal, Sister Marianita used to say, "Offer it up!" As for the warm, fuzzy feelings . . . it's not hopeless. By making use of our suffering and drawing closer to Christ, we experience a deeper joy than anything we could have found without Him. And that, my friends, is what will translate to our children and students, setting them on fire with faith in a God who can transform suffering into joy. God Bless You!

Photo credit: Christopher JL via photopin cc

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