Don’t Just Accept Your Suffering, Remedy It

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD February 7, 2021/5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once a distraught man knelt in front of a life-size crucifix and poured out his problems and sufferings.

He was startled when the Lord suddenly spoke from the cross: “Alright, stop crying now. I know how you feel. Let’s exchange places. I’ll carry all your sufferings and you hang here on the cross, 24 hours a day!

The man replied: “Err… Well… you see, Lord, I was not really serious. Thank you… Bye.”

* * *

In this “valley of tears,” we all have our own trials and adversities. The above story shows that even the Son of God underwent terrible pains and sufferings.

In the words of an existentialist philosopher, “Suffering is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” Why do good people suffer instead of being rewarded in this life by the God they faithfully serve.

Moreover, people do get to wonder why some who seem to care nothing at all about God and religion apparently prosper, while the good and God-fearing struggle with a host of trials and sufferings.

* * *

In the first reading of this 5th Sunday in a longer version of the narrative, Job wondered, too, about why the good must suffer when he lost thousands of his cattle and “a lightning struck his sheep and servants; the enemies ran off with his camels, his seven sons and three daughters were crushed to death after a violent wind struck their house.” That was not enough. Satan struck Job with the serious ulcer from the sole of his feet to the top of his head.

* * *

His wife taunted him to deny his God. To which Job replied: “You speak like a foolish woman. You have received good things from the hand of God, why should we not receive bad, too?”

The story of Job teaches that a good, faithful life in this world is NO GUARANTEE that you will be immune from trials and sufferings.

But if one is faithful and persevering amidst trials, he will be rewarded just like Job whose destroyed properties were rebuilt two-fold and his children were also restored to life.

* * *

Jesus was concerned with the problem of human suffering in all its forms as shown in this Sunday’s gospel. We see him curing people who were afflicted with various diseases, including the simple fever of Peter’s mother-in-law (cf. Mk 1,30). But take note: he never abolished suffering altogether.

* * *

That does not mean, however, that you just accept your fate or cross. To illustrate, there’s a charter airline pilot, Glenndaile Samonte, a first officer pilot of Asian Aerospace Corporation who, like many employees have been severely hit by the economic catastrophe caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The “no work no pay” paralyzed his financial state.

* * *

But instead of throwing up his arms in despair, he looked around for work. There was a need for a delivery rider of food to customers. Glenn didn’t think twice. “I accepted the job because it would help me in my daily expenses and I enjoy passing time productively.”

Glenn found a way to push forward. What’s needed in this hard time, he said, is not “arte kundi diskarte.”

* * *

As the worn-out dictum puts it, “God helps those who help themselves.” In Pilipino, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. There’s a joke that Peter had a pent-up grudge against the Lord when he denied knowing him. And the reason is…he cured his mother-in-law!

* * *

Remember the saying: In the family the husband is the pillar, the wife is the light, and the mother-in-law? She’s the termite (anay). That’s because of her meddling too much in the family. * * * The woman tends to be hysterical…also HISTORICAl.

* * *

FAMILY TV MASS–is aired on TV5 One Sport Channel 59, Free TV Ch. 41 at 6-7 a.m. every Sunday and anytime at “MCFI SVD Media” Account on YouTube and Facebook Page. Priest presider: FR. LOUIE PUNZALAN, SVD. The FAMILY that prays together stays together.

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