Reflection by Aidan Troy, C.P.
One well-known piece of Sacred Scripture is the “Sermon on the Mount”. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, these wonderful words of Jesus are recorded. Today we have the Beatitudes according to St Luke. St Luke does not have Jesus climb a mount but He ‘came down and stopped at a piece of level ground.’ There He found, “a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.” They had gathered to listen to Him and to be healed.
Jesus stands eye to eye with his listeners. He is not above them. In the crowd most were ‘small’ and vulnerable people. Such people often get overlooked and feel hurt. They get jeered at and often ignored. They are easily discriminated against as they can’t fight back. The world is full of people who are hurting. You see it in their eyes. Their hearts are broken and wounded. It is a foretaste of Hell for people who are created for Heaven.
In extreme circumstances, some people’s hurts pain them so much that they cannot take any more. Added to this, they wrongly think that their family and friends would be better off without them. Depression is all around us, but often hidden. Many a smiling face masks a broken hurt heart. The only way out is to talk to someone. But that is the last thing such a person wants to do. Friends need to look out for each other. A listening ear can save a tragedy. Samaritans, SOS Helpline and other caring groups are ‘angels’ in our midst. God bless them and they deserve any support we can give to their great work.
Why raise such sad times in this week’s Bulletin? No, I am not depressed, thank God. Looking at the relic of St Paul of the Cross and the Passionist Icon in our midst these days, I am reminded that for as long as one person is hurting, in pain, the Passion of Jesus continues.
Frequently, people tell me of their own and their family hurts. I marvel at how they keep going. I feel like kissing the ground on which they stand, because in front of me is Christ Crucified now suffering in Paris. Going to Mount Calvary to remember Christ Crucified is not necessary. He suffers in our midst.
It is important that I don’t forget that I too have hurt others. Whether I hurt others intentionally or by accident, the hurt is as real for the person who suffers. What can I do? If possible, I ask forgiveness and seek any way I can to make reparation to the hurt person. If that is not possible, these people must be in my prayers to God for them. The meeting of Jesus with Saul on the Damascus road applies to me – ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’
In 150th Anniversary of the origin of St Joseph’s on this site, it is good to recall the hurts and wounds that have been healed here. Plans are being made to publicly mark this landmark year – and rightly so. Public events are important. There are also daily ‘hidden’ miracles flowing from the power of the Cross. Nobody knows the sins forgiven by Christ through the hands of generations of Passionists. Many a sick person has seen a St Joseph’s Passionist bring them Viaticum and Anointing. Other healings are known only to God and the person. St Joseph’s stands on holy ground and you are a holy people.