Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

2/21/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Too many of our contemporaries seek an easy life without suffering, without sacrifice, without renunciation, without mortification.  Many people would like to stand under the cross of Jesus and cry out "Come down from the cross."  Contemporary society does not want to suffer. 

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/21/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Daily Homilies

Keywords: year of faith, father james farfaglia, sunday homilies, homily, suffering, cross, mother teresa


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Richard lived a very normal, happy life in his quiet, rural New Hampshire home.  His parents were very devout Catholics and were wonderful parents. 

When Richard was nine years old, his ordinary life changed forever.  Richard was diagnosed with polio.  The disease left him completely paralyzed.  His paralysis was so severe, that he had to breathe by physically gulping for air, something like what a frog does.  At night, he slept in an iron lung.

Without a doubt, Richard's cross was very heavy.  Nevertheless, everyone who came into contact with him was astonished by his patience and joy within the very difficult circumstances of his daily existence.

However, initially, Richard did not carry his cross well.  Understandably he gave into self-pity, until one day his parish priest, through good, sound advice, snapped him out of his slump.  From that moment on, Richard decided to help others by speaking to any group that would listen to his story.  With the help of his parents, Richard Chaput of Nashua, New Hampshire traveled all over his home state, and his testimony touched thousands of lives. 

Most of us when we suffer wonder, why me. Why do I have to suffer?  The meaning of life will be become clearer to us when we realize that we will find purpose in life when our search leads us from why to whom. 

Suffering does have a human face to it.

We have only to look at our Lord Jesus crucified on the Cross and there we will find the meaning of our existence and the answer to our searching and longing.

In our suffering we demand answers.  We are not satisfied with pietistic platitudes such as "just offer it up" or "you will be just fine."  Suffering, especially chronic physical sickness, deep emotional pain and death itself, causes a personal crisis that forces us to go deep into ourselves and ask those questions that are most fundamental to our human existence. 

It is precisely in the crucible of intense suffering that we either come close to God or rebel against his loving presence. 

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9: 23).

In these words taken from this Sunday's gospel narrative we discover the drastic invitation of Jesus. Embracing the cross, our personal cross or crosses is an essential aspect to our walk with the Lord Jesus. 

Jesus and the two thieves were not the only people ever crucified by the Roman Empire.

Crucifixion was the preferred form of capital punishment used for those living under Roman jurisdiction but who were not actually Roman citizens.  Beheading was the punishment of choice for Roman citizens, crucifixion for non-Roman citizens.

Consider how horrible crucifixion must have been if the Romans spared their own citizens such a terrible death.  So painful was death by crucifixion that the Romans eventually did away with it as a form of capital punishment.

The Jews were accustomed to seeing people crucified. Political insurrections on the part of the Jewish populace were punished by mass crucifixions.

So, when Jesus turned to his disciples and said "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me"  it was if he were saying, "Take up your gas chamber, take up your electric chair, take up your noose, and come follow me."

Those listening to him knew precisely what crucifixion entailed.

While the comparison may sound absurd, nevertheless, it is precisely in the daily carrying of our cross that we will find the loving presence of the crucified and risen Lord. 

Too many of our contemporaries seek an easy life without suffering, without sacrifice, without renunciation, without mortification.  Many people would like to stand under the cross of Jesus and cry out "Come down from the cross." 

Contemporary society does not want to suffer. 

However, let us recall the words of this Sunday's gospel passage: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9: 24).

We must be convinced that there is only one Jesus, and he is the crucified Jesus who rose from the dead.  Christianity without the cross is not Christianity; only through the cross of Jesus have we gained salvation.  

So, when we suffer, we should not consider our suffering a burden; rather we must look upon the cross we bear as an immense gift from God.

Blessed Mother Theresa once said: "Suffering is a sign that we have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss us and that he can show that he is in love with us by giving us an opportunity to share in his passion." 

Undoubtedly there are many forms of suffering that are quite mysterious.  However, the need to carry our cross as an essential dimension of Christianity does not take away the need and the duty to seek cures for illnesses and to make this life a better life for everyone. 

Although human progress might make this earth a better place for everyone, suffering, in one form or another, will always be a part of our existence.

The meaning of suffering only makes sense when we contemplate Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. 

When we ask the question why, we need only look upon the crucifix.  It is there that we will find the meaning of suffering and the exact reason why we too must carry our own cross. 

Each of us has a cross to carry.  We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love.  Why should we complain about something that will be the means by which we will gain eternal life?

As Thomas a' Kempis reminds us, The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one (The Imitation of Christ, 2:12).


-----

Visit Fr. James Farfaglia on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Daily Homilies

Thursday, October 30 - Homily: Mustard Seeds and Yeast Watch

Image of Fr. Joachim on the symbolism of yeast and mustard seeds as used in the Gospel by Our Lord to explain the gradual process by which the kingdom of God grows whether within the individual soul or society at large.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Joachim on the symbolism of yeast and mustard seeds as used in the Gospel by Our Lord to explain the gradual process by which the kingdom of God grows whether within the individual soul or society at large. continue reading


Wednesday, October 29 - Homily: Enter Through the Narrow Gate Watch

Image of Strive to enter through the narrow gate as many are on the wide road to perdition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Strive to enter through the narrow gate as many are on the wide road to perdition. continue reading


Monday, October 27 - Homily: Humility in Truth Watch

Image of Fr. Elias on the need for humility that must be based on the truth that we do all our accomplishments through the power of God. We need to cooperate with God's grace with our own effort and as we do He gives us more grace to do greater things but it is always through His freely given graces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the need for humility that must be based on the truth that we do all our accomplishments through the power of God. We need to cooperate with God's grace with our own effort and as we do He gives us more grace to do greater things but it is always ... continue reading


Friday, October 24 - Homily: The Great Sacrifice of Mass

Image of Fr. Elias on the large number of Catholics who do not go to Church and how this is a result of people not appreciating the importance of Mass

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the large number of Catholics who do not go to Church and how this is a result of people not appreciating the importance of Mass as the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary, the great sacrifice of the Son of God for the removal of our sins, which ... continue reading


Thursday, October 23 - Homily: How to Die in Peace and Joy Watch

Image of Fr. Ignatius explains that we must be ready for death at any moment by living a life of virtue, in imitation of the saints who looked forward to the end of their lives in profound peace and heavenly joy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Ignatius explains that we must be ready for death at any moment by living a life of virtue, in imitation of the saints who looked forward to the end of their lives in profound peace and heavenly joy. continue reading


Wednesday, October 22 - Homily: St. Peter of Alcantara, Penitent Watch

Image of Fr. Elias on the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan, who lived a life of extraordinary penance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan, who lived a life of extraordinary penance.  He contrasts this spirit of penance for the love of God with the modern materialism which is based on love of self. continue reading


Tuesday, October 21 - Homily: Fighting Hate with Grace Watch

Image of Fr. Joachim on the life of Bl. Josephine Leroux, virgin and martyr during the French Revolution. She was condemned to death for the horrible crime of being a Poor Claire nun. Listen how in contrast to the radical hate of the atheists, she returned kindness and graciousness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Joachim on the life of Bl. Josephine Leroux, virgin and martyr during the French Revolution. She was condemned to death for the horrible crime of being a Poor Claire nun. Listen how in contrast to the radical hate of the atheists, she returned kindness and ... continue reading


Monday, October 20 - Homily: From Death to Life Watch

Image of Through the riches of God's mercy, we have passed from death (mortal sin) to life (sanctifying grace).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Through the riches of God's mercy, we have passed from death (mortal sin) to life (sanctifying grace). continue reading


Thursday, October 16 - Homily: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Watch

Image of May she teach us, and obtain for us the grace, to love the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as we ought, as He deserves, and as He desires.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

May she teach us, and obtain for us the grace, to love the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as we ought, as He deserves, and as He desires. continue reading


Wednesday, October 15 - Homily: St. Teresa of Avila Watch

Image of St. Teresa, Doctor of the Church, teaches us to pray and hope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

St. Teresa, Doctor of the Church, teaches us to pray and hope. continue reading


All Daily Homilies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter