The last several weekday morning readings from Romans have been so encouraging. Earlier Paul struggled with the question of why he sins when he knows better. Today he reminds us that we love and serve a God, not as slaves, but as heirs. This dignity is the amazing gift conferred on us by our baptism through the merits of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We suffer, Paul says, to be like Christ and so to be glorified with him. Sometimes, I think, we would prefer that Christ came not to save us from our sins, but from our suffering. Today almost surely we will have an opportunity to suffer something with Christ, or in spite of Him.
In a world where any suffering is increasingly viewed as pointless, Paul's rejoinder - "we are joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him, so that we may be glorified with him."
Instead of jeering at Jesus' suffering on the cross with the bystanders, or sounding like the unrepentant thief who demands to be spared from his suffering as proof of Jesus' power, Let us pray for the grace to join our sufferings to His.
Grunewald's famous Isenheim Altarpiece highlights the suffering and the glory of Jesus' invitation to follow him. The Crucifixion, surely one of the most gruesome in art, is contrasted with the glorious, smiling Risen Christ.