Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. (Luke 18:31-34)
In this passage (and so many more) Jesus confronts us with the reality of suffering. So what do we do?
We run and hide.
We hide in our busyness, we hide behind our notifications and short attention span, we hide in our alcohol and our shopping and our food, we hide in our constant noise. And, like the disciples who “did not know what he was talking about,” neither do we. We don’t understand. We try to trick ourselves into not thinking about death and dying, about pain and suffering, about the world’s injustices and our own failings.
Three times in the Gospel of Luke Jesus confronts his friends with the reality of his own suffering and death. Three times they don’t understand (or is it that they resist understanding?). To get to resurrection, you’ve got to go through death first. There’s no magic pill that makes your life into a Disneyland ride and whisks you straight to the pearly gates.
So this week, we’re invited to “Join with me in suffering” (2 Timothy 2:3) and to “Arm yourselves for suffering” (1 Peter 4:1). Ask God for the grace to open yourself to suffering - to face it head on, whether it’s your own, someone near to you, or the world around you. That’s a scary, courageous prayer - but with it comes the potential of major resurrection - so go for it!