It is so easy to be frightened and discouraged. If we sit and watch the news we can be frightened and discouraged by so much violence, contention, natural disasters, a culture against our moral principles, the political situation and so many other things. In many places, immigrants are not welcome and they are frightened and discouraged by the attitudes that they find in their neighbors, colleagues at work and sometimes including in their own parishes. In addition, those who do not have documents feel insecure thinking that at any moment they can be separated from their family and friends, deported back to their home countries. In our personal lives there is also much that can frighten and discourage us, such as bad news from the doctor, our loved ones’ illnesses, conflicts between family members, lack of economic resources, children’s behavior, or not being able to balance all of our responsibilities. Sometimes it all seems like a burden that is too heavy.
In the New Testament we can see the afflictions of the early Church. Jesus’ disciples and those who were baptized in the first years of the Church suffered every kind of difficulties. They lived in a very difficult political situation; they were persecuted for being Christians; when they converted many lost their friends and family; and there were fights between the Christian communities. In the texts from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians that we read this month, we see that there was conflict between the apostle and members of that community; although St. Paul defends himself from the accusations of some, at the same time he is encouraging the faithful and reminding them of the paradox of the Christian life: from suffering comes glory.
St. Paul teaches us that we should not be frightened or discouraged by the afflictions and suffering that we go through here on earth. Even though our Christian faith is lived here, it has a greater purpose. Our recompense comes from above. Instead of getting frightened and discouraged, our faith in Jesus Christ gives us a new perspective, just like a pregnant woman who endures the difficulties of pregnancy and the pain of birth, because she looks to what is unseen and that surpasses the suffering.
Compared with eternity, our suffering is only momentary. In spite of what we see on the news and what we are going through in the community, in our family and our personal life, if we look to God, he renews our inner self day by day. God acts in our lives and converts our suffering into glory. As Christians we have an eternal fount that fills us with strength and hope. We are joyful, not because of what is seen here on earth, but rather because we know that God has already conquered death and sin; we are joyful because of what is unseen and what is eternal.
Source: Nuestra Parroquia