Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest. We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”

When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.