Suffering is a strange title for a bulletin article, but it’s the theme of today’s gospel, and it certainly applies to most of our lives today.
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to complete His mission on this earth. He tells the apostles that He will suffer and die at the hands of important men, the leaders of that time, and rise again so that all who walk in his footsteps will join him in everlasting peace.
Peter could not believe what he was hearing. After all that Jesus had said and after all of the good things that Jesus had done, how could anyone hurt him? I believe that the apostles were still in a haze about who Jesus really was; they thought of Him as a Holy Man, as their salvation, but until the Holy Spirit filled their hearts, they could not grasp the fact that he was the Son of God. The Holy Spirit lifted the haze that hovered over the apostles and let the bright light of faith shine though. With this newly enlightened faith, the apostles could put aside their worries and fears and proclaim that Jesus was the Son of God, and to tell all that would listen that they must heed his words and follow in his footsteps if they wanted their just reward of eternal peace with him in heaven.
Jesus knew the pain and suffering that he was about to go through. He knew the sorrow that the people close to him would feel. He prayed “Father, if this cup can be taken from me, so be it. If not, then thy will be done.” If Jesus, the Son of God, would pray to the Father, how can we do any less?
We are living in an unprecedented time of suffering for most of us. We are experiencing violence in our own city, protests, looting, and shootings across the nation, unrest in the government and, of course, the pandemic, COVID-19. The media is covering all of these with a lot of suggestions about how to fix them, but nothing has worked so far. Have you read or heard anything about prayer? Maybe it is time to ask God to take a hand in this solution.
COVID-19 is affecting all of us one way or another. Some of us have had sickness or even death among our families and friends; unemployment is high; businesses have closed or are working at lower capacities; and families are forced to restrict their gatherings.
Prayer. It is a good time to ask for God’s healing. As the light of our faith brightens, prayer will be our number one choice and not a last resort. I was looking for a job in ministry, but God sent me to Henry Ford Allegiance Health, in patient care. It was not what I had intended, but I am able to use my ministry in my job. God does know what he is doing. Our prayers are always answered, maybe not as we expected, but God knows best.
In this time of suffering and need, for me, private prayer works best. I take time to be alone with Our Lord, tell him how I feel, and listen to what inspiration he will have. God does not require you to be on your knees to talk to him. You can be driving, working around the house or yard, or just sitting in a quiet place. He would like you to acknowledge his love, forgiveness, and the ability to help you.
Deacon Mike McCormick