Joy in Suffering and Sacrifice

CEBU CITY— Fray Julius Marcos, the outgoing Vicar of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, was the main celebrant and homilist on the third day of the 7th Provincial Chapter. The gospel of this day was about Jesus’ announcement of the great suffering that he was to endure and Jesus’ invitation to his disciples to take up their crosses as well. His homily, then, revolved on Jesus’ choice to suffer and related it with his own experience of suffering when his mother got sick of cancer.

He began his homily by saying that nobody wants to hear stressful news or wants to live a stressful life. This is probably the reason why the disciples, upon hearing that Jesus would suffer and if his disciples wished to follow him would also have to suffer, got upset. It was even more upsetting because at this time Jesus was performing so many great and wonderful things such as healing the sick, calming the storm, exorcising demons, etc. Added to that, Jesus never mentioned about this in the past. Hence, Fray Marcos continued, it was difficult for the disciples to understand why he had to suffer, be rejected and killed since he was a man who did so much good. He did not merit death nor suffering. He could have even stopped all the suffering from happening but he chose to suffer and die in the cross, in the most humiliating way. He allowed the sufferings to happen to him. Jesus allowed the sufferings to happen to him because he knew that at the end of the painful road, the Heavenly Father is glorified and man is saved, reflected Fray Marcos. He added that Christ’s joy rests in the glory of the Heavenly Father and the salvation of man. This self-sacrificing love of God was the reason why Jesus would wake up every morning and face the increasing sufferings he had to face each day. Fray Marcos concluded his homily by telling the capitulars of the need to remind oneself of these three things: to deny oneself in order to be self-sacrificing like Jesus, to carry one’s crosses with the joy of being with Jesus, and to follow Jesus in carrying the cross with love for him since he sacrificed so much out of his love for us.

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