Merits from sufferings
May 20, 2017
5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 16:1–10
Gospel: Jn 15:18–21
Jesus said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that the world hated me before you. This would not be so if you belonged to the world, because the world loves its own. But you are not of the world since I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you.
“Remember what I told you: the servant is not greater than his master; if they persecuted me, they will persecute you, too. Have they kept my teaching? Will they then keep yours? All this they will do to you for the sake of my name because they do not know the One who sent me.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
While recruiters tend to exaggerate assurances to attract applicants, Jesus told his followers off by warning them of the possibility of persecutions. He wasn’t even just being transparent about the consequences of following him. Being persecuted was not a matter of inevitability – something they had to go through because they had no choice anyway. The way Jesus welcomed the turn of events shows that sufferings are valuable to God’s kingdom.
There is wisdom in God’s favorable treatment of sufferings. He can use them to light a fire under us to get us moving. Being in hot waters is not yet the end of the line. As hot water brings out the color of tea, sufferings bring out our true colors. With the transforming power of sufferings, we color the world with our real selves – sacred beings made in the image and likeness of God. The sufferings we undergo therefore bring so much benefit to the community.
Sufferings are beneficial to the self too. Some lessons are learned only through pain and failure. As a child didn’t your mom warn you not to touch a hot stove? But you probably learned by being burned. Experiences like these are real character builders. The more frequent our lives are shattered the more debris there are to stand on as we rise up in God’s grace. The more debris under our feet, the taller we stand before the world.
Admittedly, sufferings become a big camel to swallow when the people we love inflict them upon us. Still, in the silence of our hearts we can tell them off: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20). God makes all things beautiful in his time. When his time comes we rise in victory and stand triumphant over the rubbles of our past.
Experience has more to show us about the importance of sufferings to a disciple. Christ has sanctified them, he has embraced them and he recommends them to all. Let us ask God that with our fair share of sufferings may come our lion’s share of His grace. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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