33rd Sunday of the Year – Life is difficult

Life is difficult

Study:  Reflect back on life – what have been some major obstacles that you faced?  How did you find the strength and wisdom to overcome them?

Pray:  What current obstacles are before you right now?  Bring these to prayer and ask the Lord for guidance and perseverance.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is facing a difficult time in life right now?  How might you be able to offer support?

33rd Sunday Readings

M. Scott Peck, author of the classic personal growth book The Road Less Traveled, begins his text with a simple statement:

Life is difficult.

If we assume this point – that there are times in our lives that are difficult – then we can gain a clear perspective on those moments which confront us with struggle.  We recognize that challenge is indeed a part of life, and how we respond to difficulty shapes and defines who we are.

Difficulty poses a common trap.  When life challenges us we may be tempted to avoid the situation altogether.  It may (falsely) appear that it is easier to stay away from the problem – to run away, hide, pretend it is not there, or direct our attention on something else.

When this happens we may choose an (apparently) easier path.  This is the direction of least resistance; we do not seem to experience the stress or unease we felt before.  Yet this feeling does not last for long.  Sooner or later, the problem we attempted to avoid returns, usually greater than before.

In the end we are confronted with two crucial steps.  First we must recognize the situation (life is difficult).  Second we face the struggle and choose an appropriate response.  Sounds like fun, right?

Wrong…

The Gospel today is clearly not what we call a “warm-fuzzy” sort of reading.  Luke makes it clear that a life of faith will be marked with difficulty.  Pain and suffering will confront us from a variety of perspectives throughout our lives.

The Cross of Christ is our model for this brutal truth.  We know that there is hope and resurrection awaiting us, but we also know that the path to eternal life may also demand steadfast patience and sacrifice.  Indeed, the Lord asks no less than our very lives.

Yet while this reading presents us with a sort of blunt honesty, it also provides us with a powerful hope.  God will not abandon us in our weakness to journey alone.  In our moments of struggle the Lord walks with us, offering strength and guidance to help us on the way…even when life is truly difficult.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

One response to “33rd Sunday of the Year – Life is difficult

  • Sue

    God does give strength through our trials; in fact these trials bring us so close to HIm- face them with a smile. He defines us & also brings us closer to HIM:) We need to reflect and listen to Him at each stage of suffering. To become more like Him in this physical world.The power of suffering is so strong and positive. We should pray for suffering in this life!! Through sufffering we are drawn closer to other physical people, not just the saints, angels & God. God places people in our lives that appear as angels with the right thing to say & or do for us. God guides us and picks us up in ALL difficult situatuons. He never leaves us in any situatuin- He is within us, His spirit guiding us always. We are living our eternity now. We have with God’s spirit within us ( our Baptism) guiding us through this physical world in happy times and difficult times. We can offer up what we say, do, and all difficulties and happinesses to God! This life is difficult, but if we knew what lies ahead after our physical death we can handle anything in this life. GOD is so with us and we will be back with Him & our loved ones soon:):)

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