(C) Sabbath; Based on the Readings for September 7, 2015 (Monday)
Just recently I talked to someone who told me the story of a couple who were in their car at the time of super typhoon Yolanda. The winds were dragging their car down the hill towards the creek. They would probably have drowned had not a large mango tree fell onto the bonnet of their new car and stopped it just in time. The couple praised God that their car had been destroyed by a mango tree as it meant they were now safe. So much of our attitude towards events can depend on our particular situation.
In the First Reading today, Paul tells us that even suffering can be used for good. God is so powerful that He can take even negative circumstances and turn them around if we have faith in Him. This is the mystery of suffering and what it means for our lives. If we have no faith in God, then suffering will be a meaningless experience and probably a negative thing for us. However, faith can transform and give new meaning to our painful experiences. This is not to say that we are going to enjoy suffering. However, we will get some satisfaction from our suffering if we know and trust that God is using them for something good. It is like having to undergo an operation in order to save your life from a particular ailment. Through the pain comes healing and a new opportunity for life.
Let us meditate on passages like this one to change our perspectives in life for the better. God does not want us to suffer uselessly and without reason. In fact, He does not want us to suffer at all. However, sin creates suffering to the point that we cannot avoid it. We need to accept suffering when we cannot avoid it, and pray that God will accept our offering of intercession for the sake of the Gospel.
Written by Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL