Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The tension in the readings is tangible, which is setting the stage for the drama that will unfold during Holy Week. Jesus is threatened by being killed by stoning, he is rejected, despised, and like the Prophet Jeremiah, Jesus hears the “whisperings of many” with “terror on every side.”
Imagine the hurt, pain, and loneliness Jesus is experiencing and what He will endure in His Passion. The sufferings Jesus endures are for your sake. His suffering is not without meaning, but He willingly takes on this burden out of love for you.
Call to mind your struggles, doubts, and fears, and unite them to those of Jesus. In Jesus’ trials, He was able to live out the confidence of faith voiced by the Psalmist: “My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies.”
In hardships trials, we might be tempted to turn away from God and find refuge in some worldly comfort that only serves as a temporary relief, or under the weight of our difficulties, we might lose faith in God. Jesus Christ knows and understands our pain because He took on such suffering. Our faith challenges us to change our perspective on suffering and leave room for the possibility that sufferings can help us because God can use all things to transform us, as St. Paul affirms: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). We were made for the struggles that we are facing, and without them, we cannot be transformed and become what we are meant to become.
Reflection Question: How is the Lord inviting me to unite my suffering with His?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB