Isaiah 50:4-7

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Being Present to Suffering

How quickly the mood changes on Palm Sunday.  Suddenly we go from the jubilation of Jesus being greeted with palms as he enters Jerusalem, to the brutality of the suffering servant passage of the first reading. This solemn theme continues with the reading of the Passion.

How am I being called to be present to my own suffering and the suffering of others this Holy Week? As we look upon Jesus hanging on the cross as St. Ignatius suggests in the third week of the Spiritual Exercises, can we begin to appreciate Jesus’ tremendous love for us?  I believe he would have died for me even if I was the only one needing redemption.

—Fr. Paul Macke, SJ, is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio.  He co-leads a Spiritual Direction Training Program for the Cincinnati Region.

Prayer

O Christ Jesus

May your death be my life,

Your labor my repose,

Your human weakness my strength,

Your confusion my glory.

—Saint Peter Faber, SJ