Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Discipleship is a costly business. We all know too well that to be a follower of Christ in the world today is a daunting task; sufferings, trials, temptations will be our constant companions. But Jesus never hid this fact from us; look at today’s gospel. Many times we would be tempted to say: ‘God I knew it would be tough, but not this bad’. Story of Christian who wanted to change his cross but when he was shown the crosses that others have to carry he accepted his own cross. This story epitomises the old cliché: ‘faraway fields are always green’. Many of us know well by experience that this is not always the case. We think that life would be easier if we were living in another area, if we had a different job, if we had a different partner, etc. How many times do we get angry with God? Why did you send me this cross? Why do I have to suffer this or that? 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 you are an atheist, whether you try to be a true follower of Christ’s teachings or you are very lax in your Christian commitment, 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 knock on our door. We as Irish are very proud of our heritage. When we glance backwards at our history, our heritage was weaved by a constant thread of suffering that permeated every stage of our history. We should never be afraid of suffering. Many of the spiritual writers state that sufferings and trials are the fingers of God moulding us, forming us into images of his Son. 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.