SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - The Meaning of Suffering
Each of us has a cross to carry. We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love. Why complain about something which is our means to gain eternal life?
Soon Audrey did not survive the illness and the parents were completely distressed. They became bitter recluses, shutting themselves off from their family and friends. But, one night the woman had a dream. She dreamt that she was in heaven.
During her dream, she saw a long procession of little children processing like little angels before the throne of God. Every child was dressed in a dazzling white robe and they each held a lit candle. However, when the woman saw her Audrey, she noticed that her candle was not lit.
The mother ran up to Audrey, embraced her in her arms, caressed her tenderly, and then asked her how it was that her candle was the only one that was not lit. Audrey said, "Mother, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out."
Just at that moment the woman woke from her dream. The lesson was clear, and its effects were immediate. She immediately told the dream to her husband. They decided to embrace their loss with Christian hope and that they would no longer extinguish Audrey's little candle with their useless tears.
My dear friends, this Sunday's liturgy provides motivation and inspiration for us to continue our Lenten program. It is not easy to die to self. However, the gospel account of the transfiguration of Jesus tells us that our cross will always lead to the transformation of our lives.
There are three transfigurations or transformations that take place in our journey towards eternity.
The first change begins at Baptism. The immersion into the baptismal waters symbolizes death and rebirth. The Sacrament of Baptism washes away Original Sin and we are re-created. We are transformed into new creatures. The old self dies and the new person in Christ Jesus is born.
Our new life, which begins at Baptism, is carried out through our daily living of the Gospel. This of course, demands a continual dying to self. Through self-denial, the image of Christ is made visible in our lives. The more we die to self, the more sanctifying grace can transform our lives.
The second transformation takes place by our victory over the trials and tribulations of life. Every challenge, every difficulty, every moment of suffering, is an opportunity to grow. Transformation only takes place through suffering.
A young friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer when he was nineteen years old. He died two years later. Nevertheless, his acceptance of this challenge and the manner in which he embraced his daily suffering not only transformed his life, but it transformed the lives of those who were closest to him.
One day after he returned from a long week of treatments at the hospital, his dad suggested that before returning home, they stop by their parish and pray the Stations of the Cross together. The father told his son that contemplating how much Jesus had suffered for them would be important, particularly in their present trial. Both father and son had understood the transforming power of the Cross of Jesus.
The third transformation takes place at death. The suffering that the final moment brings upon us makes way for an amazing transformation. Eternal life in heaven, perhaps after a period of further transformation in purgatory, is granted to those who have been found worthy. The last transformation or transfiguration is completed at the Second Coming when our body is reunited with our soul. What awaits us is beyond anything that we can imagine.
"Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, 'new heavens and a new earth.' It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just, sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1043, 1047).
When we consider the eschatological teachings of the Catholic Church, we can understand why the Easter liturgy cries out "O felix culpa." "O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer" (Exsúlet - The Easter Proclamation from the Easter Vigil Liturgy).
The transfiguration of ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Year of Faith News
- TUESDAY HOMILY: Christian Perfection
- Does the Lord Really Mean We Are to Be Perfect?
- Pope Francis On Gospel of Life Sunday: Let Us Say Yes to Life!
- SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Thoughts on Fatherhood
- MONDAY HOMILY: When it Comes to Love, Super-size It
- OMG! LOL! NOT.
- Taking Custody of Your Heart
- Holding the Treasure in Earthen Vessels
- THURSDAY HOMILY: St. Anthony of Padua Reminds Us, Actions Speak Louder Than Words
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?