Parishes | Schools | Priests | Masses |
More in this section MAIN MENU

'God is not indifferent to our suffering'

Archbishop Wenski's homily at start of annual Bike Ride for St. Luke's

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily Feb. 4, 2018, fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Doral. He celebrated the Mass before leading his annual Archbishop’s Bike Ride to benefit St. Luke’s Center, an alcohol and drug rehab facility operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami. Click here for more photos.

There are some people that are always incorrigibly cheerful – happy, upbeat, no matter what. Well, Job whom we hear from in today’s first reading, was not one of those people.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches the homily before leading dozens of motorcyclists on a ride from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Doral, to Peterson's Harley-Davidson in Northwest Dade. The annual ride raises funds for Catholic Charities' St. Luke's Center, a rehabilitation facility for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches the homily before leading dozens of motorcyclists on a ride from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Doral, to Peterson's Harley-Davidson in Northwest Dade. The annual ride raises funds for Catholic Charities' St. Luke's Center, a rehabilitation facility for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

I think all of us have heard something about Job – he was rich, prosperous, everything going right for him and very faithful to God. The devil tells God, you think Job is so good? Why wouldn’t he be since you’ve given him so much? Take away from him all your gifts and you’ll see he’ll curse you. So, God permitted calamity to befall Job. He loses everything – wife, family, friends, riches. He is full of sores and pain but he doesn’t curse God. He questions God, “Why is this happening to me?” And, when some so-called friends tell him that he must have done something wrong for all these bad things to have happened to him, he insists on his innocence but he doesn’t doubt God’s love for him.

Job wants to know why he suffers. And so do we. God doesn’t say that he won’t tell Job – eventually. But God didn’t give him any answers right away. We too want to know why bad things happen to us, and God will probably tell us but maybe not on this side of eternity.

None of us would want to be tested to the extent that Job was tested. But all of us should want to have the “patience of Job.” Patience is a great virtue for each of us to develop.

If you’re patient you don’t answer that angry email with an angrier one. You wait and maybe then you don’t say something or write something you can’t take back. Patience helps you de-escalate tense situations. I read once – and I forget the source right now – but I read that “patience with others is charity; patience with oneself is hope; and patience with God is faith. Faith is having patience with God when it seems he keeps us waiting for answers to our prayers.

Pray for the patience of Job – so that you’ll get through, as he did, the drudgery of life, and pray to grow in love by being patient with others, to grow in hope by being patient with yourself and to grow in faith by being patient with God.

And so, as we deal with the disappointments and trials of this life, we need a strong dose of the patience of Job, trusting – as we sang in the responsorial psalm - that the Lord does heal the brokenhearted. And this is precisely what we see in today’s Gospel: Jesus curing the sick and casting out demons.

And, if it be like Job, we have to wait – and wait patiently till the next life to know the answers to all those “why’s” we ask. Jesus in the Gospel reading is keen to have us know that God is not indifferent to our suffering. Jesus shows us that God loves us in our weakness and frailty, he loves us in our weakness and our suffering. In Jesus, God is close to us in our pains and sorrows, in our trials and disappointments. He suffers with us, and he suffers for us – his suffering and death on the cross gives meaning and value to our own suffering and our death.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrates Mass before leading dozens of motorcyclists on a ride from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Doral, to Peterson's Harley-Davidson in Northwest Dade. The annual ride raises funds for Catholic Charities' St. Luke's Center, a rehabilitation facility for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrates Mass before leading dozens of motorcyclists on a ride from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Doral, to Peterson's Harley-Davidson in Northwest Dade. The annual ride raises funds for Catholic Charities' St. Luke's Center, a rehabilitation facility for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

And, as he tells Peter and the other disciples after spending the night in prayer, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose I have come.” “For this purpose I have come” – to redeem the people from their sins, to free them from their demons, to heal their broken hearts.

At every Mass, when the priest shows us Christ hidden under the form of bread and invites us to partake in the Supper of the Lamb, we reply, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus enters under the roof of Simon Peter’s house and heals his mother-in-law who laid sick in bed with a fever. St. Mark tells us that Jesus approached her, grasped her hand and helped her up. Another, and maybe better translation, says he “raised her up.” And she began to serve them.

Suffering does not usually ennoble us. It can embitter us, and as we complain, “Woe is me” – a bit like Job in the first reading – we can turn in on ourselves, becoming self-centered. That happens a lot with diseases that have physical origins; it certainly happens with diseases that are spiritual. “But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Jesus heals and restores us – as God did for Job in the end. But he heals us – as he healed Simon’s mother-in-law - for service – the service of our brothers and sisters.

Today, I am happy to be back here at Our Lady of Guadalupe – and I am joined today with a few of my biker friends. This annual Archbishop’s Bike Ride benefits our Catholic Charities’ St. Luke’s Center, which provides alcohol and substance abuse services to our community – which is just one of the ministries through which the Archdiocese continues Jesus’ mission to heal the sick and cast out demons.