At Mass today Fr. Bob’s homily was in part about how we are unwilling to accept hardship in our life and how we rebel at what we think has been God’s judgement of us. Bad things do happen to good people. Six million righteous Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Millions of blacks were enslaved around the world. Millions more native peoples have been murdered and massacred. Native Americans on our own continent were driven from their ancestral homes and murdered simply because they stood in the way of conquest. Every day good people die from cancer, heart disease, AIDs. It seems as though the love of God is just a cruel joke.
Society would have us believe that winning is everything and that perfection is not only attainable but proof of God’s favor. In the Gospel today is the story of the crippled man who was lowered through the roof to be healed by Jesus. In those days many believed that physical infirmity was the result of sin of the victim or of the victims parents. There are still folks today who ascribe sinfulness to such conditions as AIDS.
Jesus, the Paschal lamb was slaughtered. He was wounded for our transgressions. In Isaiah 53, “He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.”
By his wounds we were healed. By our wounds we are healed. Unless we too are wounded like Christ we can’t be healed. If you’ve suffered child abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, cancer, or any of a myriad of conditions then you too are joined with Christ in his suffering and in His redemption. We can’t help others until and unless we’ve been wounded. That which appears to make us most vulnerable or despised is that which binds us most firmly to Christ. It is our infirmity that makes us most useful not our strength.
“‘ My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”
Thanks be to God for my infirmities. May the Lord give you peace.