Bishop Slattery of Oklahoma was the principal celebrant of a pontifical mass at the national basilica in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, in honor of Benedict’s fifth anniversary as pope. His homily on suffering from that mass has been making the rounds; if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, take a minute to do so now:
This enormous suffering which can take on so many varied physical, mental, and emotional forms will reduce us to fear and trembling — if we do not remember that Christ — our Pasch — has been raised from the dead. Our pain and anguish could dehumanize us, for it has the power to close us in upon ourselves such that we would live always in chaos and confusion — if we do not remember that Christ — our hope — has been raised for our sakes. Jesus is our Pasch, our hope and our light.
He makes himself most present in the suffering of his people and this is the mystery of which we must speak today, for when we speak of His saving presence and proclaim His infinite love in the midst of our suffering, when we seek His light and refuse to surrender to the darkness, we receive that light which is the life of men; that light which, as Saint John reminds us in the prologue to his Gospel, can never be overcome by the darkness, no matter how thick, no matter how choking.
Our suffering is thus transformed by His presence. It no longer has the power to alienate or isolate us. Neither can it dehumanize us nor destroy us. Suffering, however long and terrible it may be, has only the power to reveal Christ among us, and He is the mercy and the forgiveness of God.
Read the rest here.