Despair, Anger, and Christ’s Triumph

In our readings at Holy Mass today—the first reading from Job and the gospel reading from Luke 9—we encounter two intense human emotions.  Neither of them are feelings that we generally want to experience.  But we do have these feelings sometimes.

resurrectionJob cursed the day he was born.  He prayed for death.  We might call that:  Despair.  Hopelessness.  Now, Job had pretty much every right to feel this way.  He had lost everything and suffered miserably.

In the gospel we read about how the Lord’s disciples reacted when the Samaritans treated them rudely and contemptuously.  “Shall we call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans?”

The disciples had suffered mistreatment, so they were angry.  They wanted revenge.  Again:  we would probably feel the same way; probably have felt the same way, under similar circumstances.

Life can be rough.  Anger, despair—sometimes we come by these feelings honestly.  The question is:  Can we find any medicine for them?

We heard in our gospel reading that the Lord Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”  Now, why did He resolutely determine to journey to Jerusalem?  Was he headed to see a playoff game at Mount Zion Stadium?  Between the Jerusalem Templeminders and the Capernaum Tilapia Tuggers?

No.  He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem because “the days for Him to be taken up” had arrived.  His Hour had come.  He went to Jerusalem to die on the cross.  And to rise again from the dead.  And to ascend to the right of the Father in heaven, whence He shall come to judge us all.

Human life involves suffering.  Some suffer more than others.  But no one skates through totally unscathed.  Sometimes we get angry.  Sometimes we despair.

But Jesus is alive.  That is the medicine.  He suffered for us, with us–in us, and us in Him.  But that’s not all.  He suffered so that we sufferers could share in His victory and His glory.  He suffered, and He triumphed.  Triumphed over suffering, over death, over all evil.

That’s the truth.  To hold fast to that truth; to hold fast to Christ Himself—the living, breathing Jesus, Who dwells in heaven, Who knows all, Who understands all—to hold fast to Him, and to build our lives on Him, on faith in His immortal life:  that is the medicine for anger and despair that we really need.

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