The merit, in the sight of God, is in bearing punishment patiently when you are punished after doing your duty.
This, in fact, is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. He had not done anything wrong, and there had been no perjury in his mouth. He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was tortured he made no threats but he put his trust in the righteous judge. He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed. You had gone astray like sheep but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
1 Peter 2:20-25
The second reading at Mass yesterday powerfully recounted the way in which Jesus experienced the events of the Passion, witnessing to his faith and trust in the Father.
Peter reminds that Jesus is the model for us to follow in our lives. Probably again and again we are misunderstood or mistreated – (as well as misunderstanding and mistreating others). If we are sometimes unconscious of how poorly we may treat others, we are often all too conscious of the hurts inflicted upon us.
The challenge when we do know this hurt is not to lash out or seek revenge, but to trust and continue to try to do our best. The fuller justice comes from God, and we can offer our pains in the service of Lord, and for the salvation of our brothers and sisters, fallible like us, and (often !) also striving for the best…
Thanks be to you, O Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the many gifts you have given us;
for all that you endured for love of us.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
The prayer of St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)
Detail from War Memorial. Port Sunlight, Liverpool. (c) 2007, Allen Morris