Both sides of the coin are part of life, and as St. Paul says, all things work together for good.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” When Jesus brings up the time of his passion and death, everyone is left speechless and without questions:
“But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.”
Perhaps they sensed a negative presentiment in this kind of talk and were careful not to go any deeper into the subject. Yet Jesus was trying to educate his disciples about the flip side of the coin, which is just as necessary as the front side, the side we all usually want.
For example, a father and mother who bring a child into the world are normally happy about it, but they try not to think about the fact that that gift must be let go at some point. Loving in this case means accepting an eventual loss, letting the child go to fulfill his or her destiny, even though it may be far from us. Loving only by possessing would be wrong; we need to accept the inconvenient side of it too.
The Cross, then, is not something that works against us, but a mysterious part of life that contributes to our good, together with the things we experience as good and enjoyable.
The gift Jesus gave us is precisely this, and St. Paul summed it up admirably: “All things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). All things! Even the ones that seem to work against us. Therefore, we should not be afraid, but confident.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.