When we suffer with Jesus, we grow in union with him

| Deacon Paul Shovelain | March 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

almsHave you ever been somewhere, and you didn’t want to leave? That is how St. Peter felt at the Transfiguration, which we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel.

There have been multiple retreats where I’ve felt like Peter in this passage. The beauty and awesomeness of God was made manifest, and I did not want to leave that spot.

However, as Jesus summons Peter, James and John to follow him down the mountain, so, too, he calls you and me down from those blessed experiences. In God’s providence, he often allows us to experience his deep, personal love before suffering.

Jesus knew that he had to go down from the mountain and fulfill his Father’s will. Just a few verses before the passage of the Transfiguration, Jesus predicted his suffering and death. When Jesus spoke about his suffering, Peter rebuked him, as Peter did not want Jesus to suffer. However, Jesus turns and rebukes Peter for “not thinking as God does but as men do.” Then a few verses later, the divinity of Christ is displayed before Peter and the other two apostles at the Transfiguration. The Father speaks from heaven affirming the Divinity of Jesus and his authority. He says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” At this, Peter grows in wonder and awe of the majesty of Jesus. Jesus comforts Peter and the others saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” Divine providence allowed Peter, James and John to grow in faith so that they would be sustained in the difficult days that lie ahead.

The Church in her wisdom gives us this passage on the second Sunday of Lent. The sacrifices we make and the extra prayers we promise to pray during Lent are getting more difficult. Maybe you forgot to fast, or didn’t say the prayers you said you would.

When we come to Mass, we are invited into this beautiful Gospel passage. This man, Jesus, whom we know as the son of Mary and Joseph, is manifest as the Son of God, in whom the Father is well pleased. In Jesus, God has come to dwell among us and be with us in all of our brokenness and suffering. This reminder of the humility of God helps us to persevere and humble ourselves. We grow in humility by giving alms, doing penance and spending more time in prayer. We grow in union with Jesus as we suffer with him. Yet, we have hope in the resurrection of Jesus that our lives will not end in suffering, but that we will be glorified with him and his Mother Mary in heaven.

May we persevere in our Lenten practices, so that one day in heaven, we can say with St. Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here!”

Deacon Shovelain is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Michael in St. Michael, and his teaching parish is St. Patrick in Oak Grove.


Sunday, March 16
Second Sunday of Lent
• Genesis 12:1-4a
• 2 Timothy 1:8b-10
• Matthew 17:1-9


How does God prepare you for difficult moments? This Lent, what are you doing to suffer with Jesus?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures