Home » Opinion » Word Alive » Why must we suffer?

Why must we suffer?

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

When we talk about suffering, sacrifice and death, not a few people shirk and avoid just the thought of these.

That is why when Jesus’ impending death was approaching, his close followers could not understand why he would suffer terribly and die.

* * *

In order to help them understand, Jesus related a simple little parable, saying: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 20,24 on this 5th Sunday of Lent).

* * *

Jesus was telling them that his death was absolutely necessary if there was to be a new life. It is a law of sacrifice that one can come to a greater life only by dying to a lesser one.

* * *

He was telling them that God works through a process of suffering-dying-rising-from-death. Jesus compares himself to a seed. He had to die and be buried in the earth for three days, then on Easter Sunday, rise glorious.

* * *

This law of sacrifice is exemplified by the fruitful deaths of national martyrs and heroes. Think, for instance, of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. His blood spilled in Bagumbayan planted the seeds of the revolution which won the Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule.

* * *

In our personal growth there has to be a non-violent, “mystical” or religious dying to our pride, selfishness, laziness, and other bad traits in order to attain a better life.

* * *

There’s a true story about a married man who was given to drinking. His buddies took more of his time than his family.

As he sank deeper, his wife couldn’t bear the burden of supporting the family and still cared for a problematic husband. She decided to go home to her parents in the province, taking the kids with her.

* * *

The loss of the wife and children proved to be a traumatic experience for the husband. At a loss for what to do, he joined reluctantly some well-meaning friends to take part in a Parish Pastoral Renewal Seminar. It proved to be an eye opener, realizing his failings and wrongdoings. He took the long, arduous road of rehabilitating himself, and with lots of support from his friends, he got reunited with his wife and children. They have now become a happy and exemplary family.

It was the husband’s DYING to his pride and vices that made him rise to a new and better life.

* * *

ASK YOURSELF: What are those vices and weaknesses we must die to? Is it excessive drinking, sensuality, inclination to gossip, uncontrolled anger, pride, selfishness?

Like that repentant husband, if we die to ourselves, no doubt we will experience a new and more meaningful life and a joyful resurrection.

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. After a couple of years, a man was asked by the priest who solemnized his wedding how things were getting along. He replied, “I’ve found out there are three rings in marriage– engagement ring, wedding ring, suffe-ring.” The wife said, “Father, may ika apat na ring. Kung ang asawa ay tiri-RING.”

* * *

INDIGENT SICK. In the spirit of Lenten penance, I am appealing on behalf of indigent sick we are helping like Dante Cabansag who is undergoing hemodialysis and a cancer patient, Stage 3. Also M. Maranga, J. Lopez, Rosanna Cayunda sick of pulmonary ailments.

* * *

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

comments