Tag Archives: Suffering

Daily Mass: We await the glory of God. Catholic Inspiration

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St. Paul addresses the struggle we face as all creation awaits God’s glory. Yes, there is suffering, but our hope is founded upon Jesus Christ.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 30th Week of the Year

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Study, Pray, Serve: 29th Sunday of the Year

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Let’s take a look at some of the central themes in the readings for the 29th Sunday of the Year.

1st Reading – Isaiah 53:10-11

  • The Church applies this passage of the “suffering servant” to Jesus Christ, whose saving passion and death is offered for “the many.”
  • This passage is referenced heavily during Holy Week.

Psalm – 33:4-5,18-20,22

  • “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.”
  • Psalm 33 praises God and encourages us to turn to the Lord with open hearts.

2nd Reading – Hebrews 4:14-16

  • The humanity of Jesus is emphasized, and he understands our temptations and weaknesses.
  • Because he became like us, we can confidently approach the Son of God to receive mercy, grace and help.

Gospel – Mark 10:35-45

  • Jesus responds to the question posed by James and John with a reflection on the role of suffering.
  • The Lord then shows how service to others reveals true greatness in the kingdom of heaven.

Mass Readings – 29th Sunday of the Year

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Daily Mass: Knowledge of Jesus means knowledge of the Cross. Catholic Inspiration

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The Lord makes it clear that true knowledge of his identity will lead us to the Cross.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 25th Week of the Year

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Daily Mass: The prayers of Tobit and Sarah. Catholic Inspiration

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The Book of Tobit, Part II – In their anguish Tobit and Sarah pray to God, who hears their petitions and sends Raphael to their assistance.

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 9th Week of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: Tobit’s suffering. Catholic Inspiration

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Part I – We meet Tobit and his wife, Anna, and learn how prolonged suffering can wear us down with fatigue.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 9th Week of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: Paul’s suffering and success at Philippi. Catholic Inspiration

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Stripped and beaten, Paul and Silas are thrown into prison in Philippi. During an earthquake their proclamation of the Gospel changes hearts and lives.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 6th Week of Easter

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Walking with Mary on the Way of the Cross: Christ falls 3x. Catholic Inspiration

The Way of the Cross in Jerusalem: Pilgrimage in December 2019

The three falls of Jesus on the Way of the Cross express our awareness of the humanity of Jesus through his Incarnation; he becomes like us – taking on our human weakness – to redeem our weakness and restore us to grace.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


6th Sunday of the Year: How suffering affects our relationships.

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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?

Mass Readings – 6th Sunday of the Year

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.

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Note: This post was originally published on February 9, 2015.


5th Sunday of the Year: Living our faith in the context of suffering.

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Study: Reflect upon an experience of suffering.  How did your faith help you face it?

Pray: Are you or someone you know facing pain or loss?  Pray that God gives the grace needed to face it.

Serve: Walking with others on their journey of anguish demands time and attention.  Are you being called now to assist someone in need?

Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of the Year

Let’s take a look at these readings:

  • 1st Reading – Job speaks from his anguish and misery.
  • Psalm – “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”
  • 2nd Reading – Paul states his need to preach the Gospel.
  • Gospel – Jesus heals the sick and preaches to the people.

On the surface of these readings we see the obvious – there are times when we encounter suffering.  Whether it’s body, mind, heart or soul…most people on more than one occasion are brought low by pain, struggle or loss.

What’s more, there is no “spin” in the Bible.  Instead, we repeatedly see in the Scriptures a raw look at the challenges people face without trying to explain away the hardship.  It’s almost as if the Word of God seeks to remind us that the journey of life often stops in places of anguish.

We might be tempted to ask the Lord why.  We might try to find reasons why a good and almighty God allows it.  Such a reaction is normal and typical.

Here’s the problem.  Many of the hardships of life have no easy answers or simple explanations.  Much of life is a mystery, and many things will not be explained until the day we stand before the Lord when all is revealed.

Suffering by itself serves no purpose, yet we often recognize that there are many times we “suffer” for something greater:

  • The athlete who suffers in practice to perform in competition
  • The student who suffers in study to perform academically
  • The employee who suffers with work to complete a challenging project
  • The friend who suffers for a loved one to bring help and comfort
  • The parent who suffers for a child to show compassion and care

You get the point.  We often embrace suffering because we recognize that there is meaning and purpose in much that is difficult, challenging and hard.

But what about when we don’t understand?  One of the most helpful questions I have ever found in the face of suffering is this:

How does my faith help me face this?

For remember, when our lives are focused on the Lord all things – even suffering – fit into a proper perspective.  Christ’s suffering on the Cross breaks the bonds of sin and death; Christ’s resurrection shows us that there is something far beyond the realm of pain and loss.

As Jesus healed and preached Good News we call upon our faith to help us face the difficulties of life with strength.  Perhaps we will not know why suffering happens, but God will give us the grace to learn how we will face it.

Note: This post was first published on January 28, 2018.


Daily Mass: To clearly see the Cross. Catholic Inspiration

As Jesus talks about his approaching Passion on the Cross, the disciples fail to understand his meaning. Their fear and hesitation remind us to be aware of the sacrifices we will make for the Lord.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 25th Week of the Year


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