POPE’S MESSAGE | God gives hope for the future despite present-day suffering

Pope Francis greeted children as he arrived for his weekly audience Aug. 23 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. In his catechesis talk, the pope explained that Christian hope is based on “faith that God always creates new things” in history, in the cosmos and in everyday life.

VATICAN CITY — While the world reels from terrorism, natural disasters and division, God weeps with those who suffer and offers the hope of a future full of joy and consolation, Pope Francis said.

Recalling the victims of a terror attack in Barcelona Aug. 17, a devastating landslide Aug. 16 in Congo, and "many other" tragic global events, the pope urged Christians to meditate on God's tenderness when "they report sad news, which we are all at risk of becoming accustomed to."

BEFORE THE CROSS | Bible stories become the pattern of our lives

Appropriate use of time, connection between suffering and flourishing
let our lives tell story of God's people 

A recent investigation showed that the average 18-33 year old checks his or her phone 85 times a day. The total investment of time adds up to 5 hours.

Rather than pointing a finger at young adults, this should raise questions for all of us: How do we spend our time and energy each day — and is there a better way?

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God’s Spirit is released in us through suffering

Jesus' words in the Gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, which were spoken before Pentecost, help us to understand the first readings, which took place after Pentecost.

Jesus tells His disciples, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows Him."

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Contemplate Christ’s Passion and let Him enter into our suffering

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

Holy Week begins the greatest week of the liturgical year. As we enter more deeply into His passion and death, we discover Jesus entering our passion, our struggle with sin, weaknesses and inconsistencies. There's no doubt that Christ suffers much in our lives, gradually conquering our rebellious nature with the same love that led Him through His passion.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Suffering for the faith glorifies Jesus and the Church

The first and third readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time tell about the incredible future that awaits beyond our troubled times.

Malachi is a prophet, not a Dale Carnegie. He tells how it is, not how we would like to perceive it. His imagery is frank, direct and even brutal. "Lo the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch."

BEFORE THE CROSS | Bear unmerited suffering in faith

What if we have to suffer — how do we bear it with faith?

This week features readings from the book of Job, so it's a good time to ask that question.

An important feature of Job's story is unmerited suffering. He suffered the loss of oxen, sheep, camels and children — all in one day. His friends asked what sin he had committed to deserve this punishment. Job insisted — truthfully — that he had committed no sin.

In the context in which it was written, that was precisely the point. The book of Job helped the Israelites reflect on unmerited suffering, both individually and nationally.

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