Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
One of my professors talked about pastoral counseling and ministering to others, and he reminded us that many people will come to us in times of difficulty, and more often than not, the challenges brought to us are not eliminated in any way by a conversation or any of our words of wisdom. However, through the grace of God, our presence and willingness to bear the hardship with the other can help lead to their healing. It is frequently our attentive ear and presence that is a source of strength and offers hope.
God sent seraph serpents among the people, and when they repented, it is important to note that God did not remove the serpents from their midst, but God offered an antidote by which He would transmit his healing power. Just as Moses and the people continued to encounter the serpents, God permits us to wrestle with weakness, disappointment, and suffering—God does not remove it entirely, nor does God abandon us in our struggles.
In His great love, God sent His Son to save us, and the Cross fully reveals God’s love for us. Our knowledge of God’s love doesn’t mean that our daily struggles are removed, but God can restore our hope. And, I think that this message of hope is the thing that the world needs to hear the most. When we find ourselves troubled, turn it over to God and work to rediscover a deeper trust in what we can occur with the help of His grace.
Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” It is through the Cross where evil is overcome, death is defeated, life is given to us, and where our suffering finds meaning. Christ’s triumph over sin and death is the sign of hope we need to find strength and bring about healing.
Reflection Question: How can you give your suffering to God and find hope?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB