Although Jeremiah had expected to suffer for being God's prophet, the degree of suffering was much greater than he had expected. Thus, Jeremiah decided to quit serving the Lord (Jer 20:9).
Jesus told His disciples He would "suffer greatly" and "be put to death" (Mt 16:21). Peter knew that disciples follow their masters and that he didn't want to suffer. Consequently, Peter tried to talk Jesus out of suffering. Then "Jesus turned on Peter and said, 'Get out of My sight, you satan! You are trying to make Me trip and fall. You are not judging by God's standards but by man's' " (Mt 16:23).
We, like Jeremiah and Peter, want no suffering, or at least less suffering, in the Christian life. However Jesus insists: "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps" (Mt 16:24). Although Jesus will remove some of our sufferings by forgiving, healing, and freeing us, He will also call us to take His yoke on us and learn from Him (Mt 11:29), bear our "share of the hardship which the gospel entails" (2 Tm 1:8), "know how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death" (Phil 3:10), and rejoice "in the measure that" we "share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13).
A cross-less, painless Christianity is not true Christianity. "Lift high the cross!"
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 27, 2017.