for Sunday, October 18, 2009
The clear teaching of our Lord Jesus is that if we choose to follow Him, we
will suffer. This is not a popular teaching. Today we want to become
fully alive without any suffering at all, if possible. It is also clear
that Jesus is not teaching us to look for sufferings, but simply telling us
that if we choose to follow Him, we will suffer.
The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, is one of those wonderful
readings that speak about the suffering servant, taking on the guilt of
others and justifying them. One of the great examples of this kind of
suffering in recent history was Saint Maximillian Kolbe, who volunteered
his life for another condemned to death in the death camp of Auschwitz.
The other man survived. This is the kind of example that challenges us to
ponder a bit and ask ourselves if we could do the same.
The reading from the Letter to the Hebrews today gives us a clear teaching
that Jesus was fully human like us in all things except that He did not
sin. Jesus is God, but truly human. Sometimes we begin to think that He
is only God - or we make Him only a good human being.
The Gospel comes back to what it means to follow our Lord Jesus. What do
we think of the Kingdom of God? Are we interested enough in it to even
want to be part of it? In much of Christian history, those who followed
Christ had enormous desires to be in the Kingdom of God. Today very few
people even think about the life in the world to come. Many people believe
that there is nothing beyond this life and so all of their attention is
focused on getting what they want in this life.
For the Christian, there is a great value in this life, but the value is
always relative to the life in the world to come. It is the choices that
we make in this life that determine our life in the world to come. If we
choose to love and serve others, we make a clear choice to follow the Lord
Jesus. If we accept His values and His way of living as our model, we make
a clear choice to follow Him.
May we live now in a way that responds to the Lord's love for us.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: