The afflictions of Christ
It seems a classic case of a very bad thing suffered by good people doing a good thing.
Amazingly, today’s second reading (Colossians 1:24-28) is a classic statement about Christian suffering:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church...
Earlier in this chapter (v. 20), St. Paul had spoken of Christ "making peace through the blood of his cross… whether those on earth or those in heaven."
Suffering is an inescapable part of this world, but the suffering of Christ on the cross has an infinitely redemptive power: not just in opening the gates of heaven, but also in giving us an opportunity to be united with that redemptive power in a special way by being mysteriously united with him in our own sufferings.
And so, as we hear of the deaths and sufferings of good people and as we try to deal with the sufferings that we ourselves may happen to have, we do well to pray constantly, putting all this suffering into the hands of God, so that by his ineffable grace, we may come to experience in the midst of this suffering the power of his love, manifested so perfectly in the sufferings of his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.