A Reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning with labor pains together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-25)
Pope Benedict XVI’s Inaugural homily April 25, 2005:
In the Ancient Near East, it was customary for kings to style themselves shepherds of their people. This was an image of their power, a cynical image: to them their subjects were like sheep, which the shepherd could dispose of as he wished. When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, himself became a lamb, he stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed. This is how he reveals himself to be the true shepherd: “I am the Good Shepherd . . . I lay down my life for the sheep”, Jesus says of himself (Jn 10:14f). It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God’s sign: he himself is love. How often we wish that God would make show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet, we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.
Do I wish for the destruction of my enemies? Do I pray that God would show Himself the stronger and strike decisively against those who could hurt me? Do I suffer because of God’s patience? Try to make an act of trust that God is taking care of everything and working out His plan of salvation. Make an act of love to unite your sufferings to the sufferings of Christ.
The first threat that Jesus faced was from King Herod. We can think of the helplessness of Jesus when He was threatened by Herod’s power. He was effectively still in the womb of Mary, with no voice, no understanding, no plan, no defense. Rather than destroying Herod, Joseph was warned in a dream and He took Mary and the child and went to Egypt. He remained hidden and helpless. Learning the patience of Mary’s little lamb is so hard but also possible when we can place our trust in Mary and Joseph that they take care of us as they took care of Jesus.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
Ave Maris Stella or Sub Tuum Praesidium
Litany of Penance or Radiating Christ