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Lent: Suffering with Jesus Christ

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Unemployed for 3 1/2 years, I've prayed, and searched, and went on interviews, to no avail. Recently, I had two interviews for jobs well below my educational level. Both times it seemed as if they wanted me to beg for the position.

Deep in the desert of suffering, people want to charge you for a drink of water in the oasis.

Life is hard enough with responsibilities, taxes, aging, and unfortunate instances of natural circumstances. But what makes life really tough is other peoples worldly coldness, and our own personal sin. Amongst large crowds of people, it can seem, at times, like there isn't a 'human' being in sight.

And the mirror can often reflect nothing but a hypocrite and a fool.

"And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.” Esther 4:17 (Esther's prayer)

We are all orphans, in a sense, to the cold hard fact that no one on earth, not a king, nor a prince, nor a superstar, can truly save us from our own sinfulness, nor can they save us from their own participation in evil. Everyone gets disappointed with everyone! No matter how strong we are, we are weak in the face of the overwhelming reality that we are not Christ, nor is there a Christ amongst the 'best' of us. Our enemies, therefore, the principalities and powers that tempt us in our fear, inspire hatred and prejudice amongst us in the spiritual lie of 'the survival of the fittest.'

We cry, we moan, we suffer our weakness. Yet, the true Christ was Crucified for us all.

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise..." Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8

God has heard our cries. God has felt our suffering. 'Christ has died, Christ has Risen, Christ will come again.'

Jesus joined us in all things but sin. He took the insults, the physical assault, the false accusations, the condescension, the flagellation, the mockery, the betrayals, the separation from His loved ones, dying on the Cross, cruelly killed, almost naked, helpless, between two thieves, in solidarity with our suffering, out of Love, Mercifully bringing us home.

This Loving Sacrifice is perpetuated on every continent, every hour of the day, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Catholic Mass, allowing struggling sinners and potential saints to enter into communion with the Triune God through the Mercy of Jesus, truly Present in the Eucharist.

Through the Mercy of Jesus, in the perpetual Sacrifice of His Cross, we sing praise to God in the presence of angels.

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him." Matthew 7:7-12

This Lent, the question we must ask of ourselves is not 'why can't I do good?,' but, 'Why don't I trust God, who is Good, all the time?'

Suffering is our destiny as human beings. Suffering, however, doesn't have to be meaningless, nor does it have to be accomplished alone. Jesus, on His Cross, provides meaning, and companionship, conquering sin and death, through this very suffering.

Will we suffer WITH Jesus?