How do you react to pain? I don’t react well. Whether it is a splinter or a stubbed toe or an upset stomach, I tend to make a big deal out of any little bit of pain. Honestly, when I experience pain, I am usually at my most selfish. Nothing makes me put myself above all others than being in pain.
Unfortunately my pain-leads-to-selfishness extends to emotional pain as well. When I’m hurt by what someone else has done or said, I usually turn inward and protect myself. How about you? What do you when you are hurt and in pain?
This Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus’ suffering and death. It is difficult to get our minds around the physical pain he endured on the cross. But I think it must have been even more emotionally painful for Jesus. His mission in life was to save the lives of the very people who were crucifying him. Imagine being denied, betrayed, and abandoned by those people you were sent to help.
Yet, when faced with this overwhelming physical and emotional pain, Jesus didn’t turn inward. Instead, while dying on the cross, Jesus continued to forgive, heal, help, inspire, give, and love. When we say, “God loves you,” this is what we mean. When we have done everything to turn away from God, when we layer hurt and insult upon hurt and insult, when we literally try and kill God, Jesus still turns to us in love. In the midst of our rebellion, Jesus comes to save us.
Read the gospel before Mass this weekend – Matthew 26:14 – 27:66
. It’s a long one and it is easy to tune it out during Mass.