Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, politics, scripture by Mike on March 16, 2014

dab38e0967639a441895bfd3d05599b8_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: At the end of the transfiguration narrative in today’s gospel is an oblique reminder that the Son of Man must suffer. We have an impulse to avoid and dismiss suffering, but it is an inevitable fact of human existence.

The great Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl spent nearly three years in Nazi concentration camps before his liberation in 1945. During his time in the camps, he had a lot of opportunities to observe human suffering and how people coped with it. Some people when they experience intense suffering have the temptation to believe that other people who face lesser pains do not understand what it means to suffer. This was not Frankl’s experience. Frankl thought that suffering was like a gas released into a hermetically-sealed chamber. If there is a lot of gas in such a room, it spreads out evenly until it fills the entire room. If there is just a small amount of gas emitted into the room, it nevertheless spreads out throughout the whole room. For Frankl, suffering whether it was intense or not still engaged the entire person. In Frankl’s perspective, all suffering–our own and the suffering of others human beings, no matter how great or small–needs to acknowledged and respected.

The suffering of Jesus is the turning point in the narrative of death and resurrection which is the purpose of the Lenten season. As we look to the cross, we are asked to remember suffering, to sit with it, to experience it, to not ignore it, as we are so prone to do. As we acknowledge the suffering of Christ this year, let us also respect the great and small sufferings of the people around us and not avoid the fact of our own suffering trying to cover it up and fix it with chocolate, shopping, alcohol, sex, or any other quick fix. Whatever else we do in this Lenten season, let us not avert our eyes from human pain, for God is always close to the suffering, and if we seek God, we should acknowledge where God is standing.

Spiritual reading: Perfection, then, is finally achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. (Antoine de St. Exupery)

One Response

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  1. The Project (@MartyrsProject) said, on March 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

    As we approach the anniversary of Oscar Romero’s martyrdom, we thought you might enjoy our music video honoring the Archbishop. Go to Feel free to review, post or embed the video. More information may be found at

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