Gospel Meditation – How might you share your suffering with the Risen Jesus?

May 5, 2024 — 6th Sunday of Easter

Once a man came to the Vatican and asked to see Pope John Paul II, claiming that they had been friends in Poland. When told of the man, the Pope said, “He is mistaken about our friendship. I don’t recall ever having suffered with him.” As it turned out, the man had never known the Pope. Now, I’m not sure if the story is totally factual. But doesn’t the juxtaposition of suffering with friendship sound exactly like JPII? He understood that the deepest and most lasting friendships are forged in the fires of shared suffering. No suffering, no friendship. Amazing. 

This week we hear Jesus say to the apostles and to us, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). In Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God entered the world of human suffering and transformed it into an avenue of friendship with Himself. Following His command — to love, to lay down our lives for others — will always entail suffering. But this suffering only deepens our friendship with Him. His suffering is ours; ours is His. We have become friends of God. 

This week, how might you share your suffering with the Risen Jesus? How might he be sharing his suffering with you, in the lives of those around you? Be attentive to that, and you’ll find that you are indeed a friend of God, because you’ve suffered together a great deal.   

— Father John Muir


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