YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Why Does God allow
Suffering in your life?
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her.” (Mark 1:30-31)
One of the toughest questions I had to rack my brain upon both in my philosophy and theology classes is the classic question of evil vis-a-vis the existence of God. The question is often framed like this: “If God is all good, all powerful, all loving and all knowing, why do people suffer?”
Is it the case that God is not powerful enough to prevent suffering? If this is the case, then He is not all-powerful and so cannot be God. On the other hand, if God is truly powerful to prevent suffering, then the fact that people still suffer means He is not loving enough. And to say God is not loving is to contradict oneself because God is Love.
Thirdly, could it be the case that God is not aware that people are suffering? This does not make sense because it is not possible for anything to be hidden from God. Some have come up with a fourth answer, that God does not exist; a statement which in itself is illogical given that the very existence of the word “God” denotes something. Notwithstanding, there are scientifically verifiable real-life proofs of God’s existence. (Confer, the five ways of St. Thomas Aquinas).
Reading through today’s first reading, it appears that the author of the letter to the Hebrews also battled with this question and came up with a fine answer: Suffering exists to teach us compassion for others. It says: Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brethren in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God… For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)
In other words, God became man in the person of Jesus so as to fully understand the human condition and bring about our salvation. And when Jesus suffered, he knew what it felt like to suffer as a man so that His heart can feel what we feel when he sees us suffering. Jesus suffered so as to be in the best position of helping us. Adam and Eve were tempted but they fell. God wanted to know what it was like to be human and to face temptation. Truly, God became man and experienced real strong temptations and as man, Jesus overcame these temptations teaching us that: one, there is no temptation beyond our power and two, that we can always call for help from Jesus since He perfectly understands what temptation is.
Suffering teaches us to be compassionate and to offer solutions to others when they suffer. If you have never suffered from something, I bet you will never know how best to respond when you see someone in that position. More still, the motivation to help might not actually be there. The best helpers are those who have had a really tough past, those who have been there, seen it all and survived.
In our Gospel passage, we read that Jesus had just left the synagogue where he cast out a demon from a man with an unclean spirit. Peter invited him home, he was supposed to rest having had a long day. But they told him Peter’s mother-in-law was sick. Immediately, Jesus attended to her. That evening, the whole town gathered at Peter’s doorpost. Jesus did not send anyone away. He attended to all of them until there was no one left before going to a lonely place to pray. All these Jesus did because He has a soft heart, a caring heart, a heart that understands, a heart that feels our pains.
Dear friends, it is true that suffering in itself is not good but something good can come out of our suffering. If God permits suffering in our lives, then let us make the best of it. Use your suffering as a motivation to help others. Never do to anyone what you wouldn’t like done to you. Be good to people not because they deserve it but because no one was good to you; break the chain. Begin a positive boomerang.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me a heart like yours that cares, loves and forgives, a heart that is never vengeful; a heart that remembers pain only to return good instead. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Hebrews 2:14-18, Psalm 105, and Mark 1:29-39).