The Journey 109: We Died So That You May Live
Read: John 9: 1-12
As the 100 the anniversary of the commemoration of the victims of the Titanic disaster is observed this week, it is interesting to note that three Catholic priests, including one hailed by Pope Saint Pius X as a martyr for the faith, are also being remembered this week. They were among the victims of the Titanic disaster, but all three of them placed themselves on the highest pedestal of Christian witness and service. The names of the three priests are the following– Father Juozas Montvila of Lithuania, Father Josef Peruschitz, of Bavaria, and English Rector Father Thomas Byles. All these three priest are said to have declined lifeboats in order to offer prayer and spiritual support to travelers who perished in the shipwreck. Fr. Byles and Fr. Peruschitz had celebrated communion on the morning of Sunday, April 14, only hours before the supposedly “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Just before the disaster, both the priests had preached sermons on humanity's need for the spiritual “lifeboat” offered by Jesus Christ amid the dangers of the world. Fr. Peruschitz was also described by eyewitnesses as declining a place on the lifeboats. His body, like those of the other two priests, was not recovered. A memorial at his onetime monastery in Bavaria reads: “May Joseph Peruschitz rest in peace, who on the ship Titanic piously sacrificed himself”. Here are three Jesuit priest ready to pay a price so that even though they go through pain and suffering in the form of seeing g their impeding death, countless people received life and may started viewing life in a different perspective.
This week we are meditating on the theme “Transformation in the life of sick and suffering” based on John 9:1-12.. How can each of us as believers bring hope and healing in the life of sick and suffering, which will help them to experience transformation and also help them to view life in a different perspective?. One of the aspects that Jesus teaches the disciples while encountering the blind man and his suffering is that he has come to be “light to others”. Here is Jesus Christ who explains his ministry in terms of alleviation of the suffering of others. Thus in this context, the ministry and the way that He chooses is something that is a model for us also. When Jesus sees others who suffers he does not by pass them, on the contrary, he consciously decides to undergo suffering and pain for them and it is through this process of suffering which we term as “vicarious suffering” that he brings healing to others. To be a healing to others or to bring light to others is not an easy way. For many of us involving in the life of sick and suffering, it does not cost us anything and hence we are not able to show them the true light. We become light to others only when we are also able to be a part of their suffering. This implies that if we intend to bring healing in others, it also forces us to take upon ourselves the pain and suffering of others. In this process sometime we may end up losers, but the other person will experience healing and transformation. In a world where every person is concerned only about their needs and views, here is Jesus Christ teaching us to move beyond our needs, beyond the path of self satisfaction, to a level where we consciously take cross and the path of suffering so that others may experience abundant life in Jesus Christ.
Ready to die so that others may live?