15 Oct 2021

This Week Letter – October 17, 2021

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The LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity. …”

A cross often appears on the way of our life. There is a great mystery hidden in it and, as St. Paul writes: “The teaching of the cross is foolishness to those who perish, and God’s power to us who are being saved.” The cross is a unique test of our virtues. Every effort or suffering undertaken requires self-denial, patience, perseverance, trust in God and fervent prayer. The cross is a sign that we are aware that following Jesus relates to self-denial, humiliation, or even death.

In the first reading, Isaiah recalls God’s decision to hand over his Servant to death for sinners. This is one of the great mysteries of our faith. Jesus suffered for us. It is not easy when He guides us through suffering and humiliation. We would prefer to follow Jesus who does not suffer and who will not make us suffer. But there is no such way in the Gospel. By entering the Way of the Cross, Jesus teaches us that this is the way to heaven for every human being. Everyone will go through their own special section of Via Dolorosa for the purification of the heart. You must not give up walking, you must not stop. We must prepare ourselves, and when adversities arise, we cannot be surprised.

“…whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus is teaching us that position of superiority and authority requires the attitude of the servant, and it is difficult. This is evidenced by the conversation of John and James, apostles who were very close to Jesus’ heart. They had the idea that soon they would meet their honors in the coming new kingdom. There will be joy and wealth alongside the Messiah, and no suffering. Jesus explains to them that one must drink the cup and plunge into the experience of suffering. And so, it finally happened. They entered the Way of the Cross prepared for them. James died as the first martyr of the twelve apostles, and John was the last … Everyone had to follow the path marked out by the Master. We also do not have anything else. The road to full life in the kingdom of Christ requires suffering and humility in the present life. St. James confirmed this in his letter: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Roman Harmata PA