There are many people who subscribe to the idea that pain and suffering are curses or evil spells. A neighbor who use to pass by our home when we were still little children would always tell about the sickness or tragedies that happened to others as punishment. These got us confused especially when there were instances of people we know who are good based on how we see them, were having difficulties. We can’t understand because we don’t hear or see them being or doing bad to others. Most people judge by associating misfortune and tragic events with others.
Rev. Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, said in his homily today,
“Pain and suffering do not just come and go, they are part of life. You won’t live if you don’t breathe. You won’t live if you don’t eat. You can’t live without your loved ones around you. You can’t live without carrying your cross. Pain is a necessary part of life.
Mothers pass through severe pain at childbirth. Our life starts with pain. When we cross to the other side, we leave behind our loved ones. It’s sad and it’s painful. Life begins with pain, it ends with pain. Just like books on a shelf; without bookends, the books collapse. Your life without the pains, will collapse.”
That is why when the Lord was teaching the disciples that ‘the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days,’ Peter’s reaction appeared normal for one who is a dedicated disciple. However, the Lord rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
It must have hurt Peter to hear those words, but the Lord meant it to create awareness of His true mission. Jesus’ focus on fulfilling the will of God the Father was such that nobody could stop it. That is the way God saves mankind. We risk our faith when we don’t accept the way He fulfills His promise. While it is true that there are forms of pain and suffering that God didn’t create, there are reasons why He allows these to happen that are simply beyond human comprehension. We can be assured though that everything happening around us is still within God’s perfect plan.
“I will save you with pain (and suffering) because that is how God does it.” Fr. Armand concluded.
Today, the Gospel (Mk. 8: 27-35) tells us to reflect on the life of the holy men and women who have embraced pain and suffering willingly for God and eternity. Their sufferings and martyrdom for the faith were fully attuned to God’s perfect will. May we put to heart Christ’s challenge to us,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.”
Let us pray for the gift of Wisdom to see the hands of God at work even in the midst of trials and challenges. In faith, may we see the value of pain and suffering, because that is how Jesus saw it, did it.
‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.’ Gal.6: 14