Mysterious, but true Passion

Yesterday’s Gospel can be considered as a “prophecy” for the present times: Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and if He went through a Passion, so too can Holy Church, His Mystical Body, go through it.

Newsroom (September 13, 2021 9:30 AM, Gaudium Press) Many of the predictions and prophecies concerning the Savior found in Scripture usually present us with glorious and bright aspects of his mission. Without neglecting to glimpse such aspects, the liturgy invites us to fix our eyes on a very important reality, which can be summed up by the Latin saying: per crucem ad lucem – it is through the cross that we come to the light. Yes, it was through suffering that Our Lord reached glory; it is through pain that we, His children, will reach Heaven.

But it is easy to talk about suffering, what is difficult is to suffer.

The flight from suffering is something instinctive, natural; which must, however, be restrained on certain occasions for higher reasons.

Isn’t it true that many professionals sacrifice their leisure time, their time with their families, and even hours of rest for the sake of their livelihood and the well-being of their loved ones? In this case, to run away from the inevitable privations would be to omit a very important duty, inherent to the very state of life that such people have chosen.

So, whoever chooses to follow a certain course, chooses all the sufferings that will come along the way. It is natural.

Accepting our part in these sufferings

With the followers of Jesus Christ, members of the Church, the same thing happens.

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In the Gospel (cf. Mk 8:27-35), Our Lord announces the fulfillment of the prophecies about his Passion.

Although He also announces His Resurrection, He presents His sufferings as elements to identify Him. Then, the Gospel tells us that St. Peter did not accept this characteristic of the Messiah, and so he was the object of a violent rebuke: “Get away from me, Satan! You do not think like God, but like men” (Mk 8:33). Thus, not to recognize Him because of the apparent disfigurements caused by the pains of His Passion, is not to think like God.

From this perspective, today’s Gospel can be considered as a “prophecy” for the present times. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and if He went through a Passion, then so can Holy Church, His Mystical Body.

In that case, with what posture of the soul should we face such a Passion? We know from the Gospel that not to accept this Passion is “not to think like God but like men”. Thus, we cannot fail to recognize or distinguish the Church as a divine institution for the sufferings that she goes through.

On the other hand, if Our Lord realized in His sufferings the pinnacle of His divine mission, is not the Church going through these sufferings to reach the peak of the designs that Providence had in founding Her?

Accepting suffering

We must, therefore, accept our part in these sufferings.

After all, if the Holy Church is made up of the members that we, the baptized, are, this Passion must also count on our participation. It would be useless for a member to be part of a body if he does not participate in its joys and pains. And to participate in the Passion of the Church means, in the words of St. James in the second reading (cf. James 2:14-18), to put our faith in her into practice because, after all, “faith, if it is not translated into works, is of itself dead” (James 2:17).

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We must carry through to the end our resolution to belong to the Catholic Church, suffering with joy whatever it takes to be faithful to her, practicing, living and preaching what she teaches with integrity, in a world that contradicts and disfigures her.

Let us follow Our Lord’s advice in the Gospel: “If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mk 8:34), and let us not deceive ourselves: we must suffer in order to practice virtue, in order to keep on the true path of goodness and to remain faithful to the Church’s teachings.

In this way, our faithfulness will also be the proof of our confidence in his glorious Resurrection.

By João Paulo de Oliveira

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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