As Catholics, we are called to reflect Jesus Christ. Our Lord is the example of perfect humanity. Perfectly balanced, perfectly just, perfectly true, perfectly merciful. He’s also a perfectly human.
“…we can overlook [Jesus’] humanity a little too readily”
We can easily lose touch with what it means that Jesus was both God and man. We’re very much aware of his divinity but we can overlook His humanity a little too readily. And we shouldn’t. There’s a lot we can learn about living in the world, by observing the example of Jesus.
The Gospel is chock full of reality checks. No matter how frustrated we are by life, or by temptations, the Gospel is always there to remind us that we have no excuse for giving in, and giving up.
Betrayed by your friends? Jesus was too. Feel abandoned? Jesus did too. Tempted to sin? Jesus was too. Oh, but God doesn’t understand what it is to be human; he doesn’t understand what we go through down here. Oh yes, he does. Our Lord experienced all that we experienced because he was human being, just as we are. He suffered loss, pain, betrayal, joy, and happiness. He laughed. He wept. He endured the pains of this life just as we do. But he did not surrender to the pains of this life; he rose above them. Perfectly balanced, perfectly reasoned, purely motivated. The Gospel deprives us of excuses. It also challenges us to go where we don’t want to go.
By surrendering his Desire to The Father’s will, Jesus conquered evil
Jesus conquered sin and death through the cross. And so by his suffering he conquered evil by breaking its hold over all of us. Not by force of will, but by submission. By surrendering his Desire to The Father’s will he conquered evil, and freed us from the bonds of sin and death. Understand that for a moment. Through submission, he did the unthinkable. Not by moving heaven and earth, but by thae simple series of acts of giving of himself; leading to the ultimate act of self-giving, laying down his life for us.
As we live our lives in a world that’s accepting evil in place of good, we have to reflect the life of Christ if we mean to do our part in fighting the evils of the world. We have to bring goodness and truth into the world through acts of charity and mercy, just as Jesus did. We have to be faithful to the truth in our thoughts, words, and deeds, just as Jesus was. And we must endure our own little crucifixions, just as Jesus did.
When it gets so difficult to be Catholic out in the world…we suffer a tiny crucifixion.
Jesus conquered evil through the Cross. We have to do the same. We have to fight and conquer evil by means of our own crosses, uniting our suffering to the Cross of Christ. And that’s more than just a metaphor. We Catholics are subjected to a good deal of suffering. Not just in the world but even at times in the Chuch. When we attend or witness an illicit mass, or mass abuses, we suffer a tiny crucifixion. When we feel frustrated, isolated, alone, or even hurt by the crisis of faith in the Catholic culture, we suffer a tiny crucifixion. When it gets so difficult to be Catholic out in the world, when others scorn, mock, or attack you for your beliefs, we suffer a tiny crucifixion. If we suffer in a spirit of holy patience for the sake of the good, we suffer a tiny crucifixion. If we accept it. If we surrender our desires to the will of God, our suffering is not self-absorbed or meaningless, it’s elevated by the Cross of Christ and becomes a tiny crucifixion of our own. It becomes purposefull. We play a small, but significant role in defeating evil.
Jesus did not walk away from His Crucifixion. He didn’t summon the angels to defend him, and he didn’t call on Elijah to take him down from the cross. He surrendered himself to the Will of The Father.
This is a special time in history, brothers and sisters, where our suffering has special meaning. The Church has been through similar times in the past; dating back to the early Fathers, the martyrs, and throughout time during periods when the Church and the faithful suffered tremendous persecution. We are living in such times now. Our suffering has special meaning; if we accept it, and if we surrender our desires to the Will of God.
Though we have grown familiar with social comforts, and even comfort in the faith experience, we must surrender ourselves to suffering when it happens; contrary through it may be to the lives and experiences we grew familiar with in the past. We have to accept our moments of suffering; not hide or run from them. We have to suffer with the Church through this crisis she faces in the modern world. We have to have joyful hearts, and perfect faith just as Jesus did.
Jesus knew that his suffering would free of from sin, and he knew that death could not hold him. And we must know that no matter what goes on in the political world, the social culture, in the courts, or even in the Church, God’s will will be done, and Our Blessed Lord will rule over all, and at the name of Jesus, every knee will bend. We will fight and defeat the evils of this world through our acts of goodness, and through our tiny crucifixions. Our tiny crucifixions will lead to victory, just as it did for Jesus.
Surrendering ourselves to the Will of God—even to the point of our suffering—will lead us to a victorious resurrection.
May God be with you all