This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday. The word "passion" has various meanings.
Passion can mean:
--intense & barely controllable emotion
--state of outburst reveling intense opinions & feeling
--intense sexual love
--intense enthusiasm--pass for the arts, sports, poetry, windsurfing...
When used in reference to Jesus, passion is His suffering and death. It is through His suffering that we come to an understanding of our suffering. Jesus knows that in the face of suffering we are able to exercise our fidelity. Love shows itself not on the honeymoon, but in the crisis. Jesus knows that suffering can actually become a stimulus to salvation and holiness - it can open our hearts to the vision of glory, just as it did for St Stephen.
This is not original to me, but I thought I would share it with you. Suffering is like boiling water. It has a different effect on people, depending on how they choose to react.
- If you put carrots in boiling water, they get soft.
- That's like the person who has made comfort and pleasure the goal of life. When suffering comes his way, it drains him of all his zest for living.
- If you put an egg in boiling water, it gets hard. You get a hard-boiled egg.
- That's what happens to the arrogant and self-centered. When life gets hard, they also get hard. They clench their fists and lose their smile.They become angry and cynical.
- If you put coffee in boiling water, the water releases the coffee's hidden flavor. It fills the room with a delightful aroma, and makes the water delicious.
- The soul that courageously trusts God in the midst of suffering, clinging to Christ's cross and staying faithful, learns to love like Christ, to be humble, to persevere in what is right.
- That person's life lets off the aroma of mature joy and is filled with the robust flavorof purpose and wisdom.
In a fallen world, we will always have to face suffering. Christ permits it, because he wants us to release our full potential.