Human suffering is a terrible, gut-wrenching thing to witness, and the suffering of the innocent is an even greater outrage. "How can God permit this?" comes the cry from the depth of our hearts. Does God really want it to be this way? If God doesn't want the innocent to suffer, why doesn't God do something!

Well, God actually did something. God did an awesome thing. God saw the innocent suffering and decided to experience it first-hand : the Passion Gospel of John just read to us. In the present, God continues to experiences it, in and through us who make up the body of Christ. Though the rest of the world may distance itself from human tragedy, God stands with those who suffer, mourn and die. The most abandoned and pain-filled sufferer is the very one who is held tightly in God's loving hands. God's Spirit condemns a world and a people that abandon the innocent.

If God's Spirit lives in us, then we too must stand steadfastly in support of those who are suffering great pain. We must do what we can to establish peace and justice as the antidote to much of the world's pain and suffering. Sometimes we may be called upon to share the suffering of the innocent, as Jesus did. At other times we may be able to bind some wounds, heal some hearts, bring peace to some troubled souls. But one thing we can never do is look away and pretend that the suffering of other people is none of our business. The reality of the cross upon which Jesus hangs and dies confirms that when it comes to suffering, there can be no innocent bystanders!

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