Most of us are probably comfortable with the idea of God performing miracles. It’s what we expect God to be able to do! The concept of a suffering God, however, is a bit harder to us to swallow. It confounds our expectations, leaving us confused, maybe even angry.
This explains why Peter rebuked Jesus when he spoke of his coming suffering and death. And that’s why Jesus insisted to Peter that his thinking was wrong.
Exactly why God chose to suffer with us in Jesus will always be something of a mystery, this side of heaven. However, we do have a few clues. God is love- Jesus revealed that to us. And all of us suffer- it’s part of the human condition. And in a suffering world it would be hard to conceive of God as love, if he himself were removed from the suffering. If he were, we might think of God as uncaring, or indifferent.
But love is never indifferent. On the contrary, love is always concerned; love is always involved. So maybe it was inevitable, then, that God wold suffer with us in Jesus, in order to express his love for us. As St. Leo the Great wrote, “There was no other reason for the Son of God to be born, than that he might die on a cross.”
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/021711.shtml