6th Sunday of the Year – Suffering: Part II

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Study:  Reflect on wounded relationships in your life.  What needs to be done to bring them healing?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to bring healing to the relationships in your life, especially where suffering has caused misunderstanding or fear has led to doubt and uncertainty.

Serve:  Are there people in your life that are struggling in their relationships?  How can you be a bridge that fosters unity and reconciliation?

6th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Last week I focused on the personal nature of suffering.  When we are in pain, when we hurt, we can easily focus on ourselves.  This is not necessarily a bad thing; suffering can help us confront reality and strive for healing and wholeness.  In our suffering we are aware of blessings that we may have taken for granted – our sight can become sharper as we realize the gifts that have been lavished upon us.

There is another dimension of suffering, however.  Suffering commonly affects relationships; when one person suffers, it is often the case that others suffer as well.  Consider the following:

  • Physical suffering can keep us from human touch/contact
  • Intellectual distress can cause us to lash out in doubt and misunderstanding
  • Emotional anguish can prevent us from connecting with others because of fear and anger
  • Spiritual suffering can obscure our values and beliefs with God and others

There are countless examples, but the point is clear – the pain and anguish a person suffers can directly affect relationships with God and one another.  Suffering can become an obstacle that blocks us from the very persons who can bring healing and relief.  Often the greatest wound from suffering is isolation: in our weakness we withdraw from the very people who can help us the most.

The 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel today reveal both the obstacles of suffering and the bridges that God makes possible through healing grace.  In the face of suffering the Lord comes, not just to bring healing to a person, but healing to the relationships among persons.  God longs not only to renew our lives but the lives around us as well.  Where suffering brings isolation the Lord brings unity – drawing us together in reconciliation and love.

This communal aspect of suffering thus begs two questions for our consideration:

  1. Is suffering affecting relationships in my life right now?
  2. How can I invite the Lord to bring healing/reconciliation?

When the Jesus healed the leper in the Gospel today, he did more than give the man back his health – he gave back his relationships as well.  The man (formerly cut off from human society) is now restored to his family, his friendships, and his participation in the community.  His life has been restored.

As we look to our own encounters with suffering we keep an eye to the ways in which our relationships are harmed/healed.  May we call upon the grace of Christ to touch our lives, and bless the lives of those around us.

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

3 responses to “6th Sunday of the Year – Suffering: Part II

  • jane arney

    Hi Father!

    I’ve really been enjoying your postings and podcasts! I just have one teensy weensy request. Can you please caption the paintings you use with your posts with the title and artist name? As an art historian I’m always interested in the art that I see on blogs, but much of it is unattributed.

    Thank you!

    Jane
    http://seeinggodinart.wordpress.com

    • Fr. Andrew Ricci

      Dear Jane,

      Your website inspires me! Thank you for the gentle reminder to provide the title and artist. Going forward I will be happy to oblige this “teensy weensy” (and very important!) request.

      Perhaps you can help me: are there any sites you recommend that I use to “find” art to illustrate my posts? I am always on the prowl for strong images that highlight the message.

      And again…thank you for the beautiful reflections you offer on stunning art!

      From my corner of the vineyard…Fr. Andrew

      • jane arney

        I just google my query (ie. baptism of Jesus painting), click the images tab and then use the Wikimedia or other good quality common use image! Easy peasy!

        Thanks so much for the compliment on my blog! I enjoy creating it and truly believe the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do this.

        BTW, absolutely LOVED your reconciliation podcast! Oh, and I attend Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta 🙂

        Be Joyful,
        Jane

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