St. Vincent’s Chapel
The Catholic University of America
May the Peace of Christ Reign in our hearts
These aren’t the readings I would have chosen for the blessings of class rings
But on Sundays it is important to remain faithful the Lectionary
and to meditate on the same passages of God’s word
which the whole Church is meditating on
So here goes…
Will always be a part of our lives
Some of the challenges we face are simply from the fact that we have bodies
Slam your hand against a brick wall and it will hurt.
Stub you toe and you’ll hop around for a while
People with bodies get sick.
Some of the problems or adversity we face
do not come by accident but rather are the product of sin
We are hurt or challenged by our poor choices our own sinful choices
Or the poor choices of others
We will be disappointed
We will be hurt
Jesus was hurt was saddened and was disappointed.
It is foolish to ever allow oneself to think that we will not have to endure challenges
or face adversity
They are part and parcel of our human existence.
Welcome to the human race
Perfect is not on earth
Perfect is in heaven
The different ways that people face challenges and adversity are astounding.
When adversity or sickness or disappointments come their way
Some people just get stuck they get paralyzed
Their problems are always before their eyes
They can’t get them out of their head
I am sick
I am sick
By the way did I tell you I’m not feeling well
Many times older people who carry the cross of sickness
seem to have this need to give you their medical history
They repeat their illnesses over and over again.
Younger people also brood on broken relationships
He hurt me
She hurt me
Why do I have to hurt
Why is it always me
I never did anything to anyone and I always have to suffer
People like these
Just give adversity so much power
Over their lives
They are incapable of seeing beyond the present moment
Somehow they convince themselves that this is all that there is
I will suffer this for eternity
The struggle or the problem has all of their attention
It consumes them
They can’t look forward
It is so difficult for them to hope
Often they have no hope.
Often people who suffer feel alone
They feel unloved
They convince themselves that no one cares
There are those who handle adversity in a different way
Let me share a real life example
Once I knew a woman who had cancer.
It had progressed too far before it was discovered
there was little medical hope
She cared for herself as long as she could
She did not complain
She simply made changes in her life as they became necessary
Slowly but surely as the cancer took its toll her she had fewer choices to make
When she became a little weaker she had to give up her first communion class
which she had taught for over 20 years
When her immune system was compromised she had to give up going to mass
on Sunday for fear of catching something
When she tired easily visits with family and friends had to be shorter
And yet she did not grow angry
She did not become sullen
When you spoke to her there was just a quiet peace
Even when her breathing was labored
Somehow she held on to hope
She accepted her new circumstances lived through them she was not panicked or afraid
Instead of Mass on Sunday her daughter would take her to Church on other days and she would sit in the presence of the Blessed sacrament.
Most often the words on her lips were
thank you Thanks You Jesus Thank you.
There are lots of differences
between people who get paralyzed by adversity
and people who somehow are able to face it live through it and move on.
People who face challenges understand that
Adversity will be always with us
But how we face it is up to us.
You see they understand that
suffering is a choice we make
Faith is an incredible often a key component in the lives of people who face adversity well
People with faith can face so much more without fear
People with faith understand that this life and their challenges are not all there is.
People of faith like the young men in the first reading are able face suffering because
they know that it is temporary.
They understand that the adversity the pain,
the challenge the dissapointment they face are
just but a moment when compared to eternity
The greatest source of consolation comes from our belief in the Resurrection.
Life eternal awaits those who believe in God
And live life as he would have us live it.
Life eternal indeed.
The Sadducees in the Gospel did not believe in the resurrection
For them this life was all there was.
Jesus engaged them
because believing in the resurrection
is so essential to understanding the meaning of this life and our relationship with God
With the eyes of faith
Suffering can become redemptive
It can change us
It can make us less self centered
It can help us focus on the needs of others
Faith helps us accept our crosses
It can keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Christ
It can remind us that we are not alone and that God loves us
Our faith shows us that God himself suffered for us.
Brothers and Sisters
The readings today challenge us to ask ourselves
How will face the difficulties of life
Will we allow them to consume us
and make us grow bitter angry and hurt
Will we allow them to transform us
Adversity challenges problems disappointments will always be with us
Whether we allow them to make us suffer is indeed our choice
With God all things are possible