Sunday readings reflection: Evil, suffering, pain

Readings for September 19, 2021

Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 54:3-6, 8
James 3:16-4:4
Mark 9:30-37

Evil, suffering, and pain are not new to the world, though the fresh laments of today’s world make it seem so. The news has us witness evil daily, especially in how we treat one another–harsh words, threats of violence, physical assaults, and even killings. Not to mention the many reminders of oppression, greed, and selfish actions that keep us from treating one another as fellow children of God.

So where is God, the author of love and life and the One we call to in our distress? Life’s clearly a mess and we need God. We. Need. God. That is how we should view evil, suffering, and pain. They remind us how much we need Him. And when we need Him, we call upon Him. And when we call upon Him, He is with us. 

No, God doesn’t yield a magic wand and wipe out all that is bad in the world. Instead, He teaches us that His Son’s suffering was for our sake, and that His love is present even in life’s tragedies. As James writes, earthly passions cause wars. So to achieve peace, I will need to let go of my earthly passions. The psalmist writes, “Freely will I offer You sacrifice.” I willingly sacrifice my earthly passions and offer them up to God in hopes of receiving the peace that He offers in its place. I have faith that my call will be answered.

St. Augustine wrote, “God had one Son on earth without sin, but none without suffering.” So it seems suffering is part of our lot on this earth. Yet for those of us who believe, and live in accordance with the command to love God and love neighbor, there is a heavenly reward and even peace here on earth. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” and all that. As for me, I’ll keep trying to praise God’s name, praise offer for the goodness in His name. Please join me in doing so.

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer You sacrifice:
    I will praise Your name, O Lord, for its goodness.
-PS 54:8

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