Fr. Steve’s homily (09/13/2015)

“You are thinking not the way God thinks, but the way human beings do.”
One of the most difficult challenges in the life of a Christian is the need to move from a life guided by human wisdom to the acceptance of God’s way of doing things. There is nothing wrong with human wisdom and it is certainly preferable to human folly.
Nonetheless, human wisdom is not an absolute reality and must therefore serve a higher—divine–wisdom. The purpose of human life is not just to acquire wealth and power, seek pleasure only or to care only for ourselves but rather to love and serve God and all others. Today’s gospel reminds us that to love in a way like Jesus meant suffering and even death. We shouldn’t be surprised.
Jesus is very open about the fact that we will have to suffer and bear our “share of the hardship which the gospel entails” (2 Tm 1:8). He bluntly states that we who follow Him must deny ourselves and take up the cross (Mk 8:34). Suffering is the way of salvation, necessary for the completion of God’s plan of salvation. We fill up in our own flesh “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church” (Col 1:24).
All this may seem to be a severe prescription for human life. However, it is important to distinguish the suffering that loving entails from all other kinds of suffering. There is literally a world of difference between them. The suffering that comes from loving leads to genuine happiness—a happiness that is far more satisfying than the pleasure that comes from having one’s own way most of the time.

And since such unselfish loving puts us in touch with God’s own love, it leads also to the final liberation that we call resurrection—eternal life. Good Friday is not nearly as bad as it looks from the outside; and Easter Sunday is much better than we can ever imagine.

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