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Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Was Jesus being a pessimist or a realist? “Pay close attention to what I tell you,” Jesus told his disciples. “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men.” Now put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. If a good friend or family member came to you and told you that they were going “to be handed over,” what would be your reaction: confusion, fear, or anger? Any of these responses would be normal. Luke writes: “The disciples did not understand this saying. Its meaning was hidden from them so they would not understand it. And they were afraid to ask Jesus what this phrase meant.”

I wonder how Jesus responded to the disciples’ silence. Was he disappointed by the disciples’ lack of response? Or did Jesus understand that his words had frightened them to their core? Perhaps they simply were unable to believe what he had said. Yet Jesus’ message is very clear.

No matter what hopes and plans the disciples were making in regard to Jesus and themselves, Jesus wanted them to understand that it was inevitable he was going to die. And let’s face it: Someday, so will we! All of us are going to die no matter how hard we try not to.

At various times in our lives we also may not want to deal with reality. When a situation is painful or frightening, we often automatically shut down rather than deal with a difficult situation. Another way of dealing with reality is rejection. None of us wants to hear bad news or sad news. If we or someone we love receives bad news, we automatically want to close our ears to the words. We simply do not want to hear it. And yet the cross is central to our religion. How many times have we read or listened to the reading of the Passion of Jesus Christ? And yet our automatic response is to reject suffering!

The life of Jesus was short. Only thirty-three years. Yet, it was the most productive in history. He led a clean life, he ate what was set before him, his only exercise seems to have been walking, and that was a byproduct of his work. The healthiest and happiest people are those with the right attitude - the attitude of Christ.

Please pay close attention to what I tell you. Someday we are all going to die. In the meantime, let us use the time we have for the good of as many people as we can.

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