Austin and Repat Hospitals: The Heidelberg parish is looking for volunteers to help with bringing patients to mass on Sunday mornings once a month. If you are interested in helping please contact Fr Mario on Ph 9457 1066 for further details.
St. Vincent De Paul Collection: A collection will be held next month, July 9th and 10th, after all masses. Our volunteers have suggested a donation of money is preferable to food etc. Please keep this in mind when deciding how we are to help them in their very important work.
Suffering: Rev Dr Campion Murray, O.F.M., President of the Yarra Theological Union, Melbourne. (1992)
- Suffering - according to the dictionary – means something that causes us pain, distress or loss. That is clear enough. But pain and suffering are slightly different. Cliff Young, for example, must have felt a lot of pain in running the marathon from Sydney to Melbourne two years ago. But you wouldn’t say he was suffering; the pain he endured was something he wanted or expected to endure as a part of the race. He was striving to achieve a goal. The pain was understood as a part of the marathon – hence this is not suffering. Suffering is pain that is not wanted or not understood. Only a human can suffer; an animal simply feels pain.
- How many times have we said or heard people say – or in words to that effect – “This shouldn’t happen to me – I don’t believe I should have to suffer this and when I suffer it, I don’t want it”.
- The classical example of human suffering comes from the Book of Job, which is really a paradigm or pattern of every human life, a point of suffering to which sooner or later every human being will be led. The suffering that Job was led to is expressed in the beginning of the Book in chapter 2, Verse 10. Job says to his wife, “Shall we not receive the good from God and shall we not also receive the bad?” That is the terrible question we have to ask ourselves.
- Job, there is no doubt, believed that, as in Genesis, God saw that everything he had made was good. That was the blessing. The opposite of blessing is a curse – blackness, chaos, disorder, the abyss. Now Job was thrown in disorder. He had received much good from God family, children, possessions, esteem, good name – but he also received bad. Children were taken, his possessions, his animals and his servants were taken, and he became a person on the dunghill, a person outside society who was publicly regards as a sinner, someone cursed by God.
- And so Job was faced with that terrible question: Is God the sort of person who acts without any reason? For God said to Satan. “You have incited me against him without reason”, and Job then says, “Does God give us good things without reason? And does God also give us bad things without reason?”
- Job had no theology, no way of thinking, that could explain why one life is blessed and another is cursed; who one person enjoys life and another person is tormented. Put in a more technical way, Job experienced a collapse of his theology. His idea of God was blown wide open.
- Is God the kind of person who today says, “Alright, I will do good by the world”, but tomorrow says “You’re all going to suffer.” It’s a stark question. That’s the question Job was forced to ask himself, and his theology was totally inadequate, as is ours. What answer then can we give?