Reflection by Brenda Kindelan
Today’s Gospel: Luke 6:20-26
Another name for this reading could be “The Sermon of Blessings and Woes”! I like the “blessings” part, but my mind goes straight to questioning the value of “woes” — especially today, September 11.
I am reminded of the first bible verse I memorized. It was my mother’s favorite passage: Romans 8:28, “All things work for good for those who love the Lord.” Wow, that sounded like an easy ride to heaven! But it was a few years later that I learned the rest, “who are called according to his purpose.” Yes, the Lord’s purpose. And the Lord permits blessings AND woes — for a greater good. Looking back on my life, I now realize that some of the greatest growth in my spiritual life came through sorrow in which I was humbled, because of which I gained empathy, from which I surrendered, after which I realized my dependence on God and others so that then my sufferings could be joined with Christ and offered for His salvific mission.
I am not the only one that seeks to understand why we suffer through physical difficulties, psychological distress, natural disasters, and man-made hostilities. Pope Saint John Paul II, in his apostolic letter “On The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering”, said “Christ causes us to enter into the mystery and to discover the ‘why’ of suffering, as far as we are capable of grasping the sublimity of divine love.”
Yet grasping this is hard. We know that after Christ’s death, the apostles were confused; but once they received the Holy Spirit, they understood the meaning of the Passion. The Holy Spirit also wants us to understand Christ crucified and then grasp the future — eternity — where our present condition will be reversed. “Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.”
Before His resurrection, Christ followed God’s will, suffered, and died. Are you willing to do the same? “Blessed are you…for the kingdom of God is yours.”
Lord, I lift my eyes toward You and pray trusting in the words of Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy.”
Copyright 2019 Brenda Kindelan
Brenda Kindelan heads the Memphis Women’s Morning of Spirituality, gives talks, leads retreats, goes to prison (ministry), hunts for bargains, and prays at her kitchen table with friends! She married Juan 46 years ago. They have 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren. Oh yeah, find out why she’s one of Therese’s little flowers at brendakindelan.com.
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