The Catechism for the verses of the second reading about “filling up what is lacking in the affliction of Christ on behalf of his body which is the church” is explained as God’s desire to share with the human person a “participation” in God’s own activities. This theology comes from the creation narrative and the way Adam and Eve are created and stand in relationship to God over creation.

So that what is lacking is this participation. In other words the human person is incomplete unless they take up their cross and follow Jesus. While it is absolutely a article of faith that the Cross is a once for all event, by itself without the participation of the human person would have ben efficacious but for nought, for lack of the human participation.

The human person is brought to completion and fulfillment, not by career success or material wealth, but rather by the level to which the human person is engaged in the cross, indeed the whole kerygma pattern for our lives and very existence.

This is a very difficult theology to proclaim in a homily; it is one of the unique ways that the scripture understand the role and nature of human suffering.The key word may be “participation” as an aspect of hospitality, which happens because we go out of our way to endure and experience something and some one we may otherwise have typically ignored. This is especially true of our capacity to welcome the divine guest, God.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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