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Sunday, October 22, 2006

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29th Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 53:10-11
Hebrews 4:14-16
Psalm 33
Mark 10:35-45

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good and bad suffering

"Through His suffering, My Servant shall justify many, and their guilt He shall bear." —Isaiah 53:11

The Lord removes some sufferings from our lives to make room for other sufferings which are redemptive. He heals us to free us to be vulnerable and exposed to hurt. He gives us the grace to love ourselves so we have courage to be hated and persecuted for the sake of the gospel. He blesses us with self-acceptance and a good self-image so we will be able to suffer rejection and contempt.

Jesus wants to forgive and heal us, and thereby deliver us from all useless suffering. "He went about doing good works and healing all who were in the grip of the devil" (Acts 10:38). Jesus has declared war on sickness, suffering, and bondage. "It was to destroy the devil's works that the Son of God revealed Himself" (1 Jn 3:8).

This does not mean that suffering has no part in God's plan of salvation. Suffering in the pattern of Jesus' death is good, redemptive, and to be sought after in prayer (Phil 3:10). This suffering is for the kingdom (2 Thes 1:5) and fills up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church (Col 1:24). Jesus asks: "Can you drink the cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I?" (Mk 10:38)

Prayer:  Jesus, I ask to suffer and know how to suffer in the pattern of Your death (Phil 3:10).

Promise:  "For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but One Who was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned." —Heb 4:15

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, Who trusted totally in His Father even through His worst suffering.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006

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