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제목 Why do the Innocent Suffer?- Easter Sunday,(17 April 2022)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2022-04-17


Why do the Innocent Suffer? (17 April 2022 – Easter Sunday)

My dear brethren,

 This Holy Week was the annual celebration in a solemn way of the great mystery of our Faith: the Redemption. Each day, at Mass, this mystery is re-enacted, is offered anew. But in the Holy Week, in a very special way, we deepen our meditation of this mystery. So, let us consider how does the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross work out our salvation?

 In order to understand better, let us go back to the book of Job. Job was a very holy man, not a descendant of Abraham, but yet one of the three holiest men in the Old Testament mentioned by Ezekiel says (Ez. 14:14,20). God Himself gave testimony to Job, “that there is none like him in the earth, a simple and upright man, and fearing God, and avoiding evil?” (Job 1:8). The adjective “simple” here means “innocent, without guile”. He was faithful to God, offering holocausts and prayers (Job 1:5). And God had blessed him, on earth as it was common in the Old Testament, giving him rich possessions in camels, donkeys, sheep, land and servants. Job used all that for the good of his neighbour:

 “Because I had delivered the poor man that cried out; and the fatherless that had no helper. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I comforted the heart of the widow. I was clad with justice: and I clothed myself with my judgment, as with a robe and a diadem. I was an eye to the blind, and a foot to the lame. I was the father of the poor: and the cause which I knew not, I searched out most diligently. I broke the jaws of the wicked man, and out of his teeth I took away the prey” (Job 29:12-17).

And a little later (Job 31:1) he explains also how he avoided even thinking about other women, thus already practicing evangelical perfection (Mt. 5:28); how he practiced humility, not despising the people of lower condition and the poor, giving them his fleece so they can warm themselves (Job 31:20).
 
 But the devil was jealous of Job, accusing him of serving God in an interested way, just because of the earthly blessings he received. He asked permission to hurt Job to show that Job will then be angry with God and curse God (Job 1:10). In a most surprising way, God grants the devil’s petition to hurt Job and say: “OK, try!” The devil then goes and makes Job to lose all that he possessed in one day: his camels, his sheep, his oxen and donkeys, his servants and even his ten children died when their house was hit by a tornado!

 “Then Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped, and said: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord. In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God” (Job 1:20-22).

 Note that Job does not accuse the devil, but he sees above Divine Providence that had allowed all that to happen to him, and without any rebellion accepts the Will of God and even blesses Him!

 Then the devil attacks a second time and says to God: “Skin for skin, and all that a man hath he will give for his life: But put forth thy hand, and touch his bone and his flesh, and then thou shalt see that he will [curse] thee to thy face” (Job 2:4-5). And a second time, God says “OK, try!” and the devil afflicts Job with a terrible sickness from the top of the head to the bottom of his feet, his whole skin was purulent and very painful. His own wife turns around against him and says: “Dost thou still continue in thy simplicity? [curse] God and die!” And he said to her: “Thou hast; spoken like one of the foolish women: if we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?” In all these things Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:9-10). See how he accepts “evil”, that is, sufferings from the hands of God without any rebellion. Then three friends of him come and are struck by the amount of his affliction, and they turn against him, saying – in one word – “you must be a great sinner, to be so afflicted by God!” Because they thought that, God’s justice would not permit him to be so afflicted if he was innocent.

 Indeed, because we are not innocent, when we suffer we can always say: “it is because of my past sins!” but Job was innocent; he had a few venial sins in his past, which he does acknowledge but he says his sufferings were disproportionately great compared with his past venial sins.

 Job defends his innocence, yet without accusing God. He is convinced that God must have a good reason, but he does not know that good reason and he says: WHY? this is the whole rest of the book of Job: the great question: WHY the suffering of the innocent?

 Job became a great Saint by his patience in his sufferings; he became an image of our Lord Jesus Christ the Innocent who suffered; the Church uses some passages from Job in the liturgy of the Passion. At the end of the book of Job, God Himself speaks and says: “Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4). In other words: “I am the Almighty, the All-Wise, just trust me!” Job prays for his three friends who had wronged him and God restores everything to him twice as much. Yet, the great question of Job, the WHY, remains without an answer.

 Later on, there is another person, even holier than Job and much more innocent than him, that also suffers because of God’s action, and she too asks WHY: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate. When she accepted the announce of the Angel that she would become the mother of the messiah, she knew the prophecies of Isaias and thus knew that there would be sufferings. When suffering came from Herod, in a certain way, it is not surprising. But when suffering came from the Child Jesus Himself, who had escaped from Mary and Joseph and was not found for three days, then our Lady too asks why? “Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Lk. 2:48). And Jesus answers with a question, like in the book of Job: “did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?” (Lk. 2:49). And like in the book of Job: “And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them” (Lk. 2:50).

 She had meditated for more than twenty years on that answer when again, her divine Son made her suffer, and much more than the first time. But when He had let himself be arrested, judged, scourged, crowned with thorn, condemned to death, loaded with His Cross and met her on the way to the Calvary and when He was hanging on that Cross and she was standing at the foot of the Cross, she does not ask again WHY.

 She has the answer in front of her eyes: THIS is the business of the Father: the Salvation of souls! Redemption!

 Precisely because God is Just, He would not let the innocent suffer without granting an overwhelming compensation, the Redemption of the world! In a certain way, by allowing the innocent to suffer, God obliges Himself to compensate by forgiving far and wide all those for whom our Lord intercedes. Our Lord is supreme innocence, He is innocent by himself – our Lady is innocent by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The loving obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ offering Himself as the Lamb of God for the salvation of the world is a much better reparation to the Divine Justice than the best expiation of any penitent, so that both Justice and Mercy are beautifully united in this perfect Sacrifice of the Cross. Our Lady was at the foot of the Cross like the New Eve, “a helper like unto Him” (Gen. 2:18) and her perfect innocence also makes that she could not suffer for herself: she suffered with Him for us.

 우리 주 예수 그리스도께서는 우리가 구원을 원하는 것보다 훨씬 더 우리의 구원을 원하십니다. 이를 위해 십자가에서 죽었습니다! 그러나 "[우리는] 죄를 거스르는 싸움에 있어서 아직 피를 흘리는 저항을 하지 않았습니다."(히 12:4) 그러므로 그분의 십자가는 엄청난 소망의 동기가 되었습니다. 그리고 각 미사는 마리아를 통해 십자가에 못 박힌 예수의 공로를 우리에게 적용합니다.

May we obtain from the contemplation of this sublime mystery a deeper knowledge of the Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart, and a much deeper love for God. And may this love be in us a fire to be spread around: we would like all souls around us to acknowledge this great mystery of Redemption and to be also enkindled by divine love: “God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us; much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him”(Rom. 5:8-9).

 By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we be faithful to this divine love, may we be truly “dead to sin and living unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Rom. 6:10)

Amen.

Father François Laisney