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Why suffering?

Today is Fathers’ Day.

Here’s a timely reminder from the book of Sirach, “My son, take care of your father when he is old, grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fails, be considerate with him…For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering.” (Sir 3, 2-6).

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Once a husband came home from church and suddenly lifted his wife and carried her around.

The wife was startled and said, “Why did you do that? Did the priest tell you to be romantic?” The husband replied: “No. He told me to carry my cross!”

Obviously, the cross could be the husband, too…and a heavier cross at times or oftentimes?

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Jesus in the gospel of this 12th Sunday teaches that to be his follower, one must “carry his cross.” “If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine,” Jesus said, “let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Lk 9,23).

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Christ himself had to suffer. But by suffering Christ gave meaning to the problem of affliction. He was saying that pain is part and parcel of our imperfect human condition or in the words of an existentialist philosopher, “Suffering is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.”

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The “cross” we carry may be a financial problem, a nagging or lingering sickness, the inconveniences and anguish of relatives taking care of a paralyzed son or a bedridden lolo who they know will never walk again.

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Human suffering needs not to be a necessary evil or beyond our control as in incurable sickness or the devastating effect of calamities like flood or typhoons. Much of it could be avoided since many of the social evils and human miseries result directly from a perversion of our free will.
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For instance, a family who lost their car, their house and lot suffers because of the father’s compulsive gambling. Children suffer psychologically from a broken family. A nation suffers not only due to government officials’ apathy but also to corrupt practices.

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Whether our suffering happens beyond our control or not, in Christian discipleship it can be REDEMPTIVE. We can draw good out of evil, convert losses into gains, and, rightly offered, can gain us eternal life.

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ASK YOURSELF: Am I doing something to help remedy the sufferings of people in my family, my work place or in society? Or am I causing their sufferings?

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FATHER’S LAFF. A father was telling his friend, “When my wife is angry, she starts shouting at me, my children and even at our dogs and nobody dares to answer her.”

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One of the friends asked, “And when you are angry, what do you do?”

The man replied, “I also shout angrily and none dares to answer back.”

“Why,” they asked. “Because the windows and doors of our house cannot answer back.”

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. The seminarians we are helping under our “Adopt-A-Seminarian” scholarship program are back for the new school year. May we request generous readers to help them maintain their seminary obligations. You may chip in or sponsor their schooling.

For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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