Patience. Suffering. These two words can both be words that remind us it is difficult to live life. That is because we all know that life is hard. Buddhism sees that as one of the Four Noble Truths. It is the rare person that does not suffer. Almost everyone suffers. Almost everyone experiences pain and difficulty. The life of faith means understanding that life is hard.
And yet people do not recognize this. We can feel singled out for a difficult life. It seems sometimes that we are the only ones who suffer. We can become jealous, or envious of what we think others have. Things seem to be easy for others. It can feel difficult for us. We need patience in our suffering.
At other times we can feel threatened by the suffering of others. We can think that they suffer because they are lazy. They suffer because they do not want to work. They suffer because they have defects in their character. In fact, it has become quite fashionable to blame the poor for being poor. It has become fashionable to blame addicts for being addicts. It can become fashionable to believe that people endure hardships and suffering because they want to endure hardships. Today’s first reading reminds us that being a follower of Jesus means patience in suffering, and accompanying those who suffer.
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