In the first part we looked at the first half of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris. In the first part things were defined and questions asked and answered. Here is the rest
As we pick up this Apostolic Letter as we ended the last section with a look at one of the Song of Suffering Servant from Isaiah. It’s the fourth one and it is a Messianic prophecy about Jesus John Paul II notes that it is through the Cross that Redemption is accomplished through suffering more over that human suffering is what has been redeemed For Christ, without any fault of his own took on himself “the total evil of sin”. He then looks into the New Testament and eloquently explains “If one becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ, this happens because Christ has opened his suffering to man, because he himself in his redemptive suffering has become, in a certain sense, a sharer in all human sufferings. Man, discovering through faith the redemptive suffering of Christ, also discovers in it his own sufferings; he rediscovers them, through faith, enriched with a new content and new meaning.” This continues with his Kingdom where we share in the suffering but it is redemption which can only be accomplished through satisfactory love. Which remains open to all love expressed in human suffering.
The sixth section looks at the Gospel of Suffering. This Gospel has been written by Mary and the Apostles through their experience of the Passion and Resurrection. Jesus was never shy that suffering would have to happen even saying that to follow you’d have to take up your cross and follow. This is the first chapter of the Gospel of Suffering and it is written on Jesus as when he is Resurrected he still bore the marks, which Thomas wanted to see. The Gospel is continually being written by those who suffer with Christ for it is in suffering where we are drawn closer to Christ, just look at anyone of the Saints and they all seem to have some suffering like Francis of Assisi who said “If we endure all things patiently and with gladness, thinking on the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, and bearing all for the love of Him: herein is perfect joy.”, or Ignatius of Loyola who said “If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint” and others who point to suffering into making them better people. The suffering become a joy through the salvific mission of Jesus. This is why Paul can write “I rejoice in my suffering for your sake” as it is only through our suffering that we unite ourselves with Christ to complete his suffering.
Pope John Paul II notes that the Parable of the Good Samaritan is surely a part of the Gospel of Suffering. As is show us how to approach things not to pass by but to stop and help out those in need even. Everyone who stops beside a person in need is a Good Samaritan, once again this is as it is uniquely put to unleash love in the human person. With so much hate in the world it would be wonderful if more people took some time to care about the other. Sure we’ve been given so many guidelines that society is crafted around the general idea that we need to do with the works of mercy. As Jesus says “what you did for the least of my brothers and sisters you have done for me.” It’s all about compassion and our redemption is rooted to suffering. The letter is nicely concluded saying “Together with Mary, who stood beneath the Cross,we pause beside all the crosses of contemporary man. We invoke all the Saints, who down the centuries in a special way shared in the suffering of Christ. We ask them to support us. And we ask all you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil, revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your suffering in union with the Cross of Christ be victorious!”
Let us take this Lenten season to take to heart the words of Pope John Paul II about how Suffering is linked to love. I hope that we all take this message to heart and try to bring it into a world were we continually see discord.
The Hidden Fortress is one of the Kurosawa films that inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars. It’s a wonderful film that tells the story from the point of view of two peasants. These two peasants, Tahei and Matashichi (Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara), are just trying to make a better life for themselves, but continue to get in their own way. The film begin with them lamenting that they went to fight with the Yamana clan but arriving late so they are though of as survivors of the Akizuki clan, who lost and are told to bury the dead, after this they split up and are both captured. They then are brought to an Akizuki Castle with a bunch of other prisoners where they are going to dig until they find the hidden Akizuki treasure. After a prison uprising Tahei and Matashichi go in the opposite direction to try to get away from the army. While gathering firewood they stumble across some Akizuki gold and find a fellow traveler (Toshiro Mifune) who has also fond some gold he is in a Hidden Fortress as well as a mute girl (Misa Uehara). However this fellow traveler is more than he seems as he is General Makabe Rokurōta who is under the task to transport the Princess Yuki Akizuki and the gold to reestablish the Akizuki Throne. There are twists and turns in the story as well and has a nice bit of humor. At the core it is a story about the compassion of humans and greed. If those things interest you check it out.
Hidden Fortress is what inspired Lucas to have Star Wars be told from the droids (C-3PO and R2-D2, and perhaps BB-8) point of view. I haven’t watch The Force Awakens enough times to make a good judgement on this idea. Hidden Fortress has the magnificent Toshiro Mifune and it is one of Akira Kurosawa’s films so those are enough reasons to see the movie. It’s a classic film and there really isn’t much to knock it for, sure you’ve got to do a bit of reading but that’s about it.
This week the readings come from the prophet Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalm 146; Paul’s first letter to Timothy 6:11-16; and Luke’s Gospel 16:19-31.
We begin with a strange passage where Amos says that the Lord berates Zion for its complacency. This message could be the exact same today as most people only care about themselves and how they can make things best for them we still are lacking this compassion thing and it is an important thing to have. Paul reminds us that we should be living a virtuous life. In the Gospel we have another parable the Rich man and Lazarus. Now, this isn’t the same Lazarus with Mary and Martha as sisters but a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus sat covered with sores outside the gate of the rich man’s house, the rich man ate to his heart content and wore the best purple money could buy while Lazarus sat outside hoping for table scraps from the rich man while dogs licked his sores. They both died Lazarus was taken to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to the netherworld. The rich man pleads to Father Abraham for help but since the rich man gave no help to Lazarus in life, the same would be done for him. The man then asks if someone could go and tell his brothers about this. Abraham say “They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.”
This is important we have the Bible the Books of Moses and the Prophets along with a bunch of stuff written by saints from all ages to guide our way through life. This relates back to the first reading we need to care about more then just ourselves but for the whole human family. I mean just look at the state of things currently we have people complaining about immigrants and refugees as well as the general inequality between people of color and white people along with men and women. We need to all work together to make things better and it shouldn’t take someone to rise from the dead to tell us this. This is the focus of the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, this is still going on right now. Let us all try and act with compassion and justice to everyone that we meet in our lives over the rest of this Jubilee Year.
Friendship Day: This is a classic observance made up by Hallmark to sell card during their low season, it was intended that on August 2 people would send each other cards. However this was not to happen as consumers saw through the gimmick and by the 1940s the observance was over in the United States. Yet the day wasn’t over quite yet as it spread to Europe and then on to Asia where is became a huge thing. With the rise of social media like Facebook and the like Friendship Day has been revived. The United Nations heard of this and in 2011 they declared that 30 July as International Friendship Day. I hope we all can do something special with our friends this upcoming Friendship Day.
Pantaleon (c. 275-305)
Pantaleon mean all compassionate and is one of the Fourteen holy helpers in the West where he is patron for physicians, and against cancer & tuberculosis; and one of the Holy Unmercenaries in the East. This is a unique saint as although there is evidence to suggest that Pantaleon existed some think that the stories associated with him are completely legendary. Some of these stories are a bit crazy, he was a the Emperor’s doctor and eventually turned to his faith since Jesus was the greatest healer. For revealing his faith to the emperor by healing a paralytic but this made the emperor condemn him to die for use of magic. This is the best part according to the hagiographies is the description of his death, he was first burned with torches but Christ appeared as his friend Hermolaus who healed the burns. Since this didn’t work a molten bath was prepared and Jesus stepped into the the bath with Pantaleon and the lead became cold and the fire went out. Then Pantaleon was thrown into the sea with a great stone unfortunately the stone floated. Next he was bound to a wheel but the ropes snapped and the wheel broke. Finally they tried to just behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted to Christianity. Pantaleon then implored Heaven to forgive them, and It wasn’t until he desired to die that it was possible to behead him, upon which there issued forth blood and a white liquid like milk.