Redemptive suffering is a uniquely Christian idea. In fact, our entire religion is based on it.
Jesus’s words today: “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy. … So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
“What is the meaning of suffering?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?” are age old questions that have caused many to lose their faith. Honestly, without Christ there isn’t a good enough answer to those questions. Suffering only makes sense when we look at what God undertook for us. When Adam and Eve sinned (and whenever we sin), they chose a life of suffering. To be separated from God and His plan is to suffer. The world is a different place altogether because of the presence of sin, and our sins affect others just as we are affected by the sins of others.
But in Jesus Christ our suffering takes on meaning. The crucifixion was the ultimate suffering, but it was also the source of the ultimate redemption, the ultimate healing, the ultimate joy. We’re invited into that. Because of sin, there’s no escaping suffering in this world, but we’re offered the choice of allowing Jesus to redeem that suffering and to discover joy through it.
Without Jesus, the question of suffering will never have an adequate answer. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the answer to suffering even WITH Jesus, but I trust Him.
Take this Gospel to prayer today. Remember to use the steps of Lectio Divina. Ask Jesus to reveal to you what He wants to tell you through this passage. He wants to make your heart rejoice, the kind of rejoicing that no one will ever take away from you… not even a global pandemic caused by a crown-shaped virus.
-Amanda Nobis, Director of Evangelization