Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
When I was made pastor of two small, rural parishes, it took me a bit to learn to preach in a way that didn’t fly right over their heads. It’s a challenge to both speak plainly, while not devaluing the mysteries proclaimed. Yet, when you really can connect the dots for people they start to engage the faith in a new way.
It is also a challenge after greater spiritual engagement, to not make the mistake that once I turn to the Lord all my problems disappear. Jesus speaks plainly today: You will still suffer in this world. So why bother with following Christ? Because He has “conquered the world.”
God did not fail us when something terrible happens, because He gave His only Son to win us for eternity. Living a moral life often means life is better—but it can also mean that people take advantage of you in this life, that you will not maximize prosperity due to immoral means. We know that, statistically, religious people filled with faith, hope, and love weather earthly trials better, aided by their community. But natural evils like a child getting bone cancer will not leave because one is faithful to the Gospel.
We have to understand the mystery of our own lives through the Paschal Mystery: Jesus becoming like us, then dying and rising in victory of sin and death. What is suffering can be united to the Cross to be transformed for me or someone I may never know in this world. Jesus makes it plain for us if we would really have faith: “In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
Reflection by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB