No Pain, No Gain

24th Sunday Ordinary Time                                                                                         

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.”  Matthew 8:27-35 

There was an archaeologist who wanted to find out what would Christians do if they were to discover that Jesus did not to rise from the dead. And so he got a dead man’s body and put wounds on its hands, feet and side to pretend it was Jesus’ body. Then he displayed the body inside a church just before people entered for Easter mass. I will stop the story here and leave the ending for next time.

But the archaeologist was smart in thinking that if this man were to be Jesus he must have the marks of suffering all over the body. Did not Thomas, the doubting apostle, thought in the same way when he refused to believe that it was Jesus who had appeared at the Cenacle unless he saw the wounds?

In another story the devil once disguised himself as the Christ in order to fool a saintly monk. But he forgot to put on the wounds and consequently was chased away by the monk with a broom.

Jesus is Messiah and he saved us by His suffering and dying. No one can separate His death from our redemption. Any attempt to do so is devilish.

This is why Peter was called “Satan” by Jesus in the gospel today. Jesus initially praised Peter for confessing “You are the Christ”. But when Peter wanted to prevent Him from suffering, immediately Jesus called him a devil. Rightly so because Satan himself does not want Jesus to suffer.

By suffering Jesus would defeat Death and save Mankind. And eventually the devil himself would lose to Jesus. Those onlookers at Calvary who taunted Jesus to step down from the cross were on the devil’s side.

In our own lives as followers of Christ, we also cannot remove suffering. Without pain we cannot gain anything as Christians. But God never gives us a cross that we cannot carry. Aside from that we also believe that Jesus would be beside us to help as once Simon of Cyrene had helped Him.

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