All the three readings of today touch the theme of suffering. In the first reading of today we hear God praising a loyal Servant. Through his sufferings and death he has won healing for many. This suffering servant will offer his life in atonement. In the second reading Jesus is presented to us as a High Priest who becomes the mediator between God and man restoring all things to the Father. Since he experienced struggles of life on earth, he can sympathize with us weak human beings. He can feel for us in our weakness. In the Gospel Jesus teaches James and John and the other disciples that the real pathway to glory and honor is service and becoming a servant. The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Our Christian life can be summarized as a call to serve.
Yes, Christian suffering is not a hopeless endeavour. Resurrection will follow the suffering and death. But this is purely the grace of God: "The cup that I shall drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I shall be baptized you shall be baptized, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted" (Mk 10:39-40).
We are created to be happy. Our pursuit of happiness revolves around, and often misled by, the three P-wants: Pleasure, Possession, and Power. Pleasure is the ability to enjoy positive mental and physical states. Possession is the endowment to have access to the fundamental needs of human beings. And power is the possibility to have agency over the environment and people around us. The 3 P's may contribute to happiness, and at the same time, an exaggerated focus on them could leave us unhappy. This is our struggle: to balance our need and want for pleasure, possession and power.
Those who are members of religious orders in the Catholic Church make three vows: chastity, poverty and obedience. These three vows are expressions of the commitment to live radically the Christian values that challenge the human desire for pleasure, possession and power. Religious life, which originated in the church during a time of complacency after the conversion of Emperor Constantine, remains a call to radical Christian life even in the contemporary culture.BACK TO LIST