From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest. We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”
When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.
—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.
Jesus Christ, may your death be my life, and in your dying may I learn how to live. May your struggles be my rest, your human weakness my courage, your embarrassment my honor, your passion my delight, your sadness my joy, in your humiliation may I be exalted. In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials. Amen.
—St. Peter Faber, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!