Friday, November 09, 2007

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

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

Yes …

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

I hurt

Why do I have to hurt

Why me

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


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