16 March, 2018: Difficulties and Discipleship

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Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Reading: Wis. 2. 1a, 12-22; Gospel: Jn. 7. 1-2, 10, 25-30
Gospel passage of the day presents to us two facts. First of all, Jesus lived a very challenging life amidst dangerous situations. But all the threats, plots, difficulties, etc., could not keep Him away from what He came to do. He was at His mission, preaching, teaching, healing, and calling all people to conversion, so that through Him they may receive eternal life. Even when people rejected Him, Jesus was never disheartened. He was very clear about His mission and very keen about bringing it to fulfillment.
Secondly, a vast majority of the Jewish people seem to have accepted that Jesus is the Messiah. There were others who recognized the signs worked by Jesus and surmised that in all probability He could be the Messiah. However, this realization did not really lead these people to true faith in accepting Jesus’ teaching and invitation for conversion.
These above mentioned facts have profound lessons to teach. When people come to me with difficulties, I have the habit of focusing their attention on the sufferings of Christ. At times, I have received shocking replies. Here are two most often repeated replies: ‘He is God. He can endure that suffering. How can I? I am only human?’ ‘He suffered just for a short time on the Cross. I am suffering every moment of my life.’ These kinds of replies show our poor understanding of Christ and His sacrifice. He endured suffering throughout His life, especially during His public ministry. It was definitely not a cakewalk. The highlight of it is that He chose to undergo these suffering knowing very well where it will culminate. That was the depth of His love. Though we know these facts, when we are called to share in His suffering by shouldering our daily crosses, we very often hesitate. We try to reason out and find a way to dodge Jesus’s teaching and example. But the truth remains and it is our duty to accept His invitation and follow in His footsteps.
Do you merely admire the goodness of Jesus and forgo His teachings? Are you ready to really accept Him and His teachings and follow Him to Calvary? Are you ready to suffer for Christ as He suffered for you?

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