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Glory in Pain

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By Marc Massery (May 17, 2019)
View the readings for this Sunday.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019, Fifth Sunday of Easter
•Acts 14:21-27
•Ps 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
•Rev 21:1-5A
•Jn 13:31-33A, 34-35

In the Gospel reading this weekend, Judas leaves Christ and the other Apostles to begin his dirty work of betraying the Lord. Judas' departure from the upper room means that Christ's death on the Cross is imminent.

As soon as Judas leaves, Jesus says something we might not have expected: "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him" (Jn 13:31).

You might think Jesus would save this statement for the Resurrection, after He had won the victory over sin and death. Instead, He says it just as soon as the events of His Passion and death are set in motion — right before He's about to be betrayed, abandoned, scourged, condemned, crowned with thorns, spit upon, mocked, and nailed to a tree. How could that be glorifying?

Though in one sense it may seem counterintuitive, we inherently know that glory requires suffering. We often find the most inspiration, not from people who have had it easy their whole lives, but from those who have suffered greatly and yet, endured. Holocaust survivors, cancer warriors, soldiers in battle, police men in the line of duty — often, the greater the suffering the more glory in the end.

Love Prevails

Knowing that His time is short, Jesus gives His Apostles His most important teaching: "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another," (Jn 13:34).

Suffering is inevitable for us all. Those around us, especially those closest to us, will cause us pain at some point or another, whether they mean to or not. But happy feelings and good times are not the glue that keep us together.

Love is.

According to St. Faustina in her Diary, love "endures everything, love is stronger than death, love fears nothing" (46). When we choose to love, we will the good of another person. Jesus taught us to love, no matter the circumstances. His love, for Judas, His Apostles, and for all of humanity, ultimately led Him to Calvary. When we love other people in the way Jesus loves, we will inevitably taste Calvary — pain, humiliation, and rejection.

But the greater the pain, the greater opportunity we have to testify to love. And that's why we can find glory in pain.

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