Father Bob’s Weekly Message
Isaiah 50: 5-9a, Psalm 116, Letter of St. James 2:14-18, Mark 8:27-35
The first reading this week is a third of the four servant songs we find in Isaiah. It is “how the Servant gives himself to those who persecute and beat him.” Scripture Scholars believe Isaiah is prophesying about Jesus, God’s son, who suffers for us. All of us have probably had a share of suffering in our lives in one way or another, or we probably know one who has suffered greatly.
Today, I am thinking about my first cousin and my godfather, John McCarthy. He passed away one week ago after a very challenging life. John was just 11 months old when he lost his father, my Uncle Jack, in World War II. He never ever had a chance to know his father because of War. The long lasting effects of War, however, were in John’s life. No father figure was available for him, only a single mother, which began too early in his life at 11 months and with no brothers or sisters. His mother loved him and cared for him so much but she, too, was always afraid and protective that she might lose her son as well, and she never wanted to lose him like she lost her husband.
Our family also loved him deeply but he was always searching for something that was missing in his life, his father. John made great strides to live up to his father’s memory as a WW II hero. He tried to follow him in his professional life but it did not work out. He was always searching for the loving father figure that was missing in his life. John suffered greatly with mental challenges in his life but he never lost his faith. He kept it in the midst of all his “life suffering” because of the effects of war. He did, however, end up well in his life with proper medicine and the care of a loving family and a good facility where he was able to live for well over a generation.
I think we all know situations of suffering like what I describe above. Nothing is good about it especially in man-made situations like War and especially the long lasting effects it leaves with families and loved ones. We cannot change it. We can only walk with the person who is suffering as Jesus does. Psalm 116: “I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” And, walking with each other makes the challenges of this life bearable.
St. James tells us today that our Faith must have works. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says they have faith but does not have works…Demonstrate your faith from your works.” Mark’s Gospel: “whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”
Our Mass prayers tell us to pray that we may “serve God” and each other “with all our heart.” And, remember “the love and faith, the needs and hopes we each bring to our prayer touches others in ways we cannot imagine.” Let us call upon the name of the Lord this week for those who suffer so much. May we all put our faith into practice this week with loving and prayerful actions!
-Fr. Bob Kelly, SVD