What can one man do to stop the spread of evil and needless suffering? One man can do very little, but the little he can do multiplied by God can overcome all evil and render needless suffering a positive thing.
For this article I turn to the truest human person; I turn to the perfect specimen of our human race, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was given the grace of Adam and Eve at their beginning, that is to say, God created Mary without the stain of Original Sin, just like Adam and Eve. But unlike Adam and Eve, Mary always said “Yes” to God and NEVER SINNED!
Mary is the New Eve and she said “Yes” to God to become a Virgin Mother through a unique union with the Holy Spirit. By this surrender to God‟s divine will, Mary received within her soul and her womb the Eternal Word of God who took on our human nature, our flesh, in order to become Jesus Christ, the New and Perfect Adam.
Jesus is fully human, but he is a Divine Person, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who could never sin. Yet, in his majestic holiness he did not need to suffer, but taking on our human flesh, he chose to suffer by taking on the sins of the world. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, al-lowed himself to be humiliated by the scourging, the crown of thorns and the crucifixion on the cross like a terrible criminal. He took on this needless suffering and transformed it into the Paschal Mystery of saving forgiveness for all those who would repent and seek God‟s holiness, beginning with Christian baptism.
In today‟s Gospel, Jesus “summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but who-ever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.‟” Mk. 8:34-35
We are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ by taking up the cross, that is to say, taking up the sometimes difficult task of growing in holiness and helping others to do the same. Some people understand this well and are very generous with their time, talent and treasure. But there are many others who are lukewarm, or worse, they are following the easy and wide path that leads to needless suffering.
God loves everyone, that is why he suffered so violently by taking up the cross for the salvation of our souls, every soul. God hates that some people are following the path to hell, because it is needless suffering. God allows it, however, because often hard times bring people back to God and the virtues of faith, hope and love, lived out in mercy, service and justice.
Although we can avoid some pain by avoiding personal sin, doing penance and curbing the sins of others, we still have to suffer growing pains. Ask any athlete or any parent. In order to grow in goodness, you have to be stretched to bring forth new life, stronger life.
This new growth is essential in the spiritual life of individuals and parishes. That is why I am excited about the many people who are stepping up to help with the Synod process as participants, facilitators and scribes. They are allowing themselves to be stretched by serving the call to grow in holiness.
The Synod is an Arch-diocese-wide process that calls us to participate in growing in holiness which gives direction to the mission of our Local Church. You can participate by joining a “small group meeting” that will be gathering for six consecutive weeks to discuss, pray and give input back to the Archbishop. Even joining one meeting will be worthwhile. Find more information in this Sunday Bulletin.
I thank God for all the volunteers of our parish who maintain our mission, but especially those who are helping out as small group facilitators and scribes in order to help grow our parish. If you wish to help out in this manner, please go online to Archspm/Synod, where you can find more information about the Synod and “Training Resources for Small Group Managers and Facilitators and Scribes”.
Praise God that Jesus Christ, who did not need to suffer because he is God, chose to become one with us to lead the way in suffering for God‟s glory and the salvation of souls, perfectly accomplishing this in his Mother, Mary, the New Eve.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe