Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hebrews 12

This is the first reading from yesterday's Mass readings. When I read it, I thought of you. In particular, all of the questions and comments you've posted about suffering seemed to resurface. So many of us might question why following Christ and living the Gospel entail hardship and suffering. Why does God's love involve the Cross? How can trials be seen as God's love for me? Verses 4-7 of this passage do not answer all of these questions. But, they can bring great peace and consolation because they reveal the truth that God is a loving father who knows what is best for us even if it's not always what is easiest for us.

Heb 12:4-7, 11-15:
Brothers and sisters:In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as his sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?

At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.
Strive for peace with everyone,
and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God,
that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble,
through which many may become defiled.

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