Suffering and Redemption

(Lenten Reflection from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

We might call today's reading one of the "great reversals" in the teachings of Jesus Christ: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it." Others appear in later lenten Gospels, such as when we are reminded that true leaders act as servants. As Christians, we ought to take care to avoid becoming numb to the radical quality of these teachings. Lent helps us not to forget. Our smaller sacrifices help to prepare us for the greater human suffering involved in "living without" and "living for others". Lent reminds us that every human being will suffer, sometimes dramatically. Jesus adds that we need to learn to suffer "for his sake". This might easily require us today to face ridicule on account of sincerely believing or practicing our faith. It will also likely require that we learn to enter into the suffering of others as he did. There is a real glimpse of redemption when we do this. Because of Jesus, when we enter into solidarity with another's suffering, we experience another on of Christianity's great reversals: our suffering reminds us of our fundamentally shared humanity, and of the possibility of joy amidst it all, all because of the love of another person.

Reflection based on Luke 9:22-25
Helen M. Alvare

Father, help me to face my own sufferings with peace,
and to enter into the suffering of others with real love and solidarity.

Today's suggested penance: Offer your day for the intention of another person whose name you keep in mind all day.