29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Tina Sibbald
James and John, had some nerve, wouldn’t you agree? They wanted to sit to the left and right of Jesus because they knew about the glory that awaited Him. They wanted to be in places of honour, but they were a little clueless about what He would go through to arrive at the other side. Simplistic, but it reminds me of a famous person in need of good publicity who poses for photographers handing out food in a soup kitchen…. for five minutes. All show and no go! It is likely not a stretch if I ask you to think for a moment about a challenging or troubling situation in your life. Is it easy to think, “why me”? Of course it is — great men and women of faith have struggled thus since the dawn of time. In Judaism, the challenging question about “why bad things happen to good people” is extensively written about and often referred to as “divinely guided challenges” designed to benefit mankind. Is there anyone among us who would actually choose to suffer? Probably not.
Jesus knows all about it. He suffered physical abuse, torture even. He suffered betrayal, humiliation, rejection, separation from God. He chose it and He did not retaliate in any way. Forgive me for repeating, but in case you missed it, He chose it. This is Christianity in a nutshell. Jesus chose to suffer and die in our place so that we may have eternal life. Our job, therefore, as followers of Jesus, may seem simple, but somehow we manage to make it more complicated because we get all wrapped up in feeling sorry for ourselves. We need to have a vital prayer life so that we may persevere in times of trial. The two are inextricably linked.
So here’s a little practical exercise to help you out this week. When you think it can’t get any worse, find someone who is in a more dire spot than you are (there’s always someone), and offer them a kind word, a small good deed, or even a sandwich and a coffee. Trust me, your perspective will change. Then go home and pray, or go to church and pray, or just pray while you are walking. Or if you don’t have it in you to pray, just talk. He can hear you. God really does have a sense of humour — God knew it was my turn to write this week and God chose these verses just for me. But that’s a story for some other time. Blessings to you all.