Pastor’s Desk – 5th Sunday of Lent

Approaches to suffering

    I knew a man who fought cancer to the end. And he took to every type of possible healing.  We all had been told it wouldn’t work.  I know another who just opened himself to it all and wouldn’t even take chemo. These are different approaches to suffering. One fought it and the other accepted. I admired both of them.

    Many people go into hospital wondering about their illness, and that death might be close. That’s part of life. As for Jesus, it’s a fearful time, confusing and sometimes draws us into more faith.  We can transform our pain into suffering, and find some great graces in it. There is the challenge to find new life in it.  Pain becomes suffering.  Jesus doesn’t want the chalice of the garden, but he allows it become fully part of him so that his inner strength is big!   It doesn’t mean a simplistic approach.  But it means an acceptance of darkness in life.

    Jesus found in his passion that God the Father is near.  This can be our way, and we can find that through helping each other.  We can help people at times of suffering – listening, being present. We find this in our hearts, not in books – that we can grow through suffering and we realise on a bad day that peace invades the soul, or that there is a bright light in the darkness.

    In any suffering in our lives, when we think of God, or say his name, or question him, maybe we can just imagine a light around us….  Saying nothing, just being open to the light.

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free,

you are the Saviour of the world.

Donal Neary SJ