Turning to Scripture can help dispel our worries and fears. Dr. Sri sits down with Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, author of Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life, to talk about the ways that God shows up in Scripture during the sufferings of his people, and what we can learn from these examples in this period of uncertainty.
Snippet from the Show
“God is going to show his glory through this trial.”
The First Jews and the Coronavirus
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the world in an intense crisis. Back in the days of the first Jews, which Dr. Italy calls “the perfect storm,” the people of Israel were battling growing forces in Rome, temptation to false gods and idolatry, as well as personal struggles of being in the desert after years of slavery. However, looking at how the Israeites handled these crises, and how God stood by them through it all, can give us supreme hope during this horrible plague of COVID-19.
In the Midst of the Storm
Dr. Italy recalls the story of Jesus and the apostles in Luke, when a great storm came upon the boat while fishing:
Luke 8:23-25 – “One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?’”
Even while asleep in the back of the boat, Jesus was in control of the storm. The same goes for this virus. God is in control of what will happen in the future, but what we must do is take our eyes off the waves and focus them back on our Master. We must help the world turn back to God.
The New Passover and the New Exodus
In the Jesus study that Dr. Italy created with Jeff Cavins and Edward Sri, one of the main themes is the concept of a new Passover and a new exodus within the passion of Jesus. The event of Passover is meant to reflect liberation. Dr. Italy explains that God will show his glory in the midst of suffering, just like he did for enslaved Jews during the Passover. The Transfiguration on Mount Tabor reveals this new Passover and new exodus when Jesus is talking to Moses and Elijah:
Luke 9:30-31 – “And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli′jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.”
Luke’s Gospel shows us that Jesus was speaking of his own exodus; his own passing, death, and resurrection. This new exodus and new Passover is not only revealed through Jesus’ passion but is also meant as a personal invitation for us to join him in his journey through death and into glory.
The Last Supper
The events of the Last Supper also demonstrate Passover themes, specifically in John’s Gospel when the sacrifice is made. Jesus announces his coming death when the Passover lamb had been sacrificed, showing that he is the new Passover lamb. Because of this, the Passover and other themes converge on Calvary, during Jesus’ passion, leading Dr. Italy to describe the Crucifixion as “the center of all human history.”
Paul Claudel – “The page that divides the New and Old Testament is not the page between Malakai and Matthew, it’s not that golden page in many family Bibles, it’s actually the red page of the Passion of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.”
Why Should I Pick Up My Cross?
Jesus came to free us from the suffering that comes with being alienated and separated from God, which is the greatest form of suffering. There are other smaller sufferings that were of Jesus that we are not only invited to share in, but to unite with him, so that our suffering becomes redemptive. Suffering without Christ is much darker and deeper than suffering with him.
“We have two choices in life, to suffer with Christ, and to suffer without him.”
Until we are reunited with Christ in heaven, there will be suffering and sanctification that needs to be done. This includes suffering during the Coronavirus. We as Christians must decide what to do with this time: are we going to flee our friends and family as the pagans did in past plagues, or are we going to look to those in need?
How Do We Unite Our Suffering to God?
Here are some practical ways to offer your sufferings to God:
- Morning Offering: The first thing you should do when you wake up is offer your day to God, including expected events, possible disappointments, and unexpected gifts all according to God’s will.
- Thank God in all circumstances: when things go wrong, we should thank the Lord for our sufferings, not because we understand them, but because we have faith that he will bring good out of this trial.
James 1:2-3 – “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
An Invitation to Participate in the Jesus Study from Dr. Italy
This study brings people in touch with the humanity of Jesus, the Holy Family, and the disciples by taking them to the Holy Land: the center of Christ’s ministry. It serves as a practical and personal series about discipleship and how to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. Dr. Italy also recommends getting the online video access option, which will allow you to watch the videos again and again.
- Visit Dr. Sri’s website at https://edwardsri.com/
- Subscribe to our show by texting “allthingscatholic” to 33-777
- Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic
- Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life Book, Study, and Timeline by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
- Dr. Italy Page on Crossroads Initiative
- Learn more about Dr. Italy’s Pilgrimages