The Taste of Suffering

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Daily Reflection – 1/12/2022

Sacred Scripture

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn,  he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. (Mark 1: 29-39)

Reflection

No matter how weary he was, Jesus always drew strength from his Father to minister to the people.

His innate compassion and love for everyone he encountered shone throughout the Gospel of Mark. Simon’s mother-in-law was changed fundamentally by her healing experience of Christ. Not only was her illness gone, she felt a compelling desire to wait upon Jesus.

But there is more because at nightfall, as soon as the Sabbath was over and people could move about, they brought all the sick and possessed to Jesus, so much so that Mark tells us “the whole town was gathered at the door,” and Jesus cured them all one-by-one.

It would have been exhausting work. But he healed them to give a foretaste of the resurrection when all our illnesses will be healed and all demons and temptations will have been cast out.

Each of us knows that we have a little taste of salvation every time we’re cured of a really bad fever, or severe back pain, or a terrible headache or liberated from a serious temptation. Jesus by these healing and exorcising miracles was giving us a little down payment of the joy that awaits at the Resurrection. But he wasn’t taking all illnesses away. He didn’t take away all pain and suffering. But he committed himself to show us, through that suffering, the path to perfection with him.

Therein is a powerful lesson for each of us. Suffering and pain are part of the human condition. But we know through scripture and faith, that they were not meant to be. They are not willed to be by Him.

Whenever each of us confronts pain and suffering, we are reminded that he is there. Jesus Christ, who took on the human condition, knew suffering far beyond that which most of us will ever know.

With all the pain of the cross, Jesus forgave sin, forgave his persecutors, then   looked down at his mother and reminded her that she was part of a greater family. He then gave himself up to his heavenly father.

It’s a model of enduring through pain that should be vivid in our memories. He took on that suffering so you and I could be saved. He gave up his life so that you and I would gain our heavenly life.

His suffering was the ultimate gift of his love to us.

THAT is what we need to hold onto whenever we are undergoing the pain that life can bring. We are never alone, regardless of how much we think we are. Jesus, the constant companion is at our side.

We may be worn down by the difficulties of our life. Jesus, the constant presence is there to walk with us and uplift us by his love.

When we face the nearness of death, Jesus stands at our side and reminds us of the gift that awaits us with him.

Suffering forces proud men and women to allow others to care for us, to give others a chance to love us, to force us when we’re ill out of our supposed self-sufficiency.

Throughout it all, Jesus is there at our side.

Jesus came because he knows what we most need. He brought us the medicine of the word and of the sacraments. We need the medicine of Jesus’ truth, of his preaching, more than any medicine or treatment.

We need him throughout the journey of our life through bright days and dark days. When we internalize that, when we live that life, we are almost home. That’s when Jesus turns to us, holds our hand, smiles and reminds us that he walked every step with us.

And ultimately, he will welcome us to his father’s home.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have all power to heal and to deliver from harm. There is no trouble nor bondage you cannot overcome. Set me free to serve you joyfully and to love and serve others generously. May nothing hinder me from giving myself wholly to you and to your service.”

Daily Note

Do you allow Jesus to be the Lord and healer in your personal life, family, and community? Approach the Lord with expectant faith. God’s healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with and there is no bondage he can’t set us free from. Do you take your troubles to him with expectant faith that he will help you?

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