Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

We’ve often heard the old Proverb: ‘The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence’. This reminds me of the story of the Christian who wanted to change the cross that God had given him – look at the cross that the people of Ukriane are carrying now, just think of the families and friends of those young boys who drowned recently in Northern Irleand. Sometimes it very hard to keep everything in its proper perspective and we complain and get all uptight about trivial matters. Cardinal Bernardin, the late Archbishop of Chicago, when he learned that he had terminal cancer said: ‘I came to realise how much of what consumes our daily life is trivial an insignificant’. Sometimes we may think that if they were living in another area, if they had a different job, if they had a different partner, etc. that things would be better. The Monk who went to live on the mountain. The challenge facing each of us is not to change other people but change ourselves, to try to improve ourselves to change for the better. The gospel today challenges us as Christians to have Jesus as our top priority. My mother always asked me the question why do good people suffer so much and those people who have everything seem to suffer less.  Suffering is part and parcel of human existence. No amount of power or money can get rid of suffering from our human existence. Whether you believe in God or are an atheist or an agnostic, you will always have sufferings to contend with. The greatest lesson that we can learn (and the sooner the better we learn it), is not how to eliminate sufferings from our life, but how can I best make use of the sufferings that knocks on my door. No amount of money can buy you your health. Suffering and the cross are an integral part of Christianity and indeed of humanity. This is not something we want to hear at the moment when we are facing rising inflation and energy prices out of control. The message of Jesus is very clear, the true genuine disciple of Jesus must take up the cross as Jesus did and this is the important thing in doing so, they will learn that it is the way that leads to the new life of Resurrection. We should never be afraid of suffering. We all have our own crosses to carry.  We carry burdens, which are known and unknown to others. Christ has gone down that road; he suffered misunderstanding, bereavement, loss of friends, treachery, pain, etc.  Now he promises to be our companion when we suffer the burden of weakness of body, mind, and spirit, when we suffer the pain of loneliness, illness, and failure, when we are confronted with our own personal problems. Remember that our way of the cross, like Christ’s is the path to resurrection, is the only way to our heavenly home.