Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meaning in the Suffering Servant

Today we hear the third song of the Suffering Servant. In it, we hear some lines that make it a bit more obvious that this Suffering Servant is Jesus: "I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting." These lines from Isaiah are easy to think of when we see Jesus abused and beaten during his Passion.

The Prophet Isaiah in the Sistine Chapel

But these lines, and the whole of the third song, help us get closer to this painful mystery of suffering. Anybody who has loved has known suffering, suffering is a part of the human condition. Sometimes we beg to God to take away our suffering, and this is understandable. But I think what we are seeking more fundamentally is for our suffering to not be meaningless. I think our subconscious prayer is "Lord, please let the trials of my life have meaning."

Holy Week gives meaning to our sufferings. The sufferings we experience in our life are not meaningless and empty because they make us more Christ-like. When God looks at your soul, if he sees a soul that has suffered deeply because of love, he sees a soul that looks more like his own Son than a soul that never suffered because of love. Jesus suffered because of his love for us, and if we embrace the suffering that comes from loving him and each other, then that makes us more Christ-like before the God the Father.

 

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