Sunday, September 08, 2019

Can we really fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church." (Colossians 1: 24).

Monday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus (1580 - 1654), Priest and Religious. As a Jesuit missionary in South America, he was placed by Providence to care for thousands of African slaves as they arrived in the Americas to start their enforced slavery. Peter fed the hungry, cared for the sick and dying. It is estimated that he baptized about 300,000 in his 40 years of ministry.

Our Scripture of today is puzzling. Jesus Christ overcame evil not by fight or flight but my total submission. The Church goes on to teach:
"But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (CCC 272).

We share in the Exaltation of the Cross today by embracing God's gracious and mysterious will in our life. You may think that this is easy. If you commit to doing it always, everywhere and in everything, you are on your way to sainthood. When you learn to offer up all your sufferings in union with Jesus, it is powerful and can be the one single thing that breaks any yoke.

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Jesus is Lord.