Padre Pio did not know exactly why the love of God was inseparable from suffering, but he firmly believed that suffering all things for the sake of God was the way to union with God.
The disciples were struggling on what Jesus had to say to them. Jesus words were strong in today's Gospel of Luke, "Pay attention to what I am telling you." Wow! It is very unusually for Jesus to be that firm with the disciples, but it does get their attention right from the start. And then He said: "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men." The thoughts going through their minds, like how could our Savior be tortured and executed like so many of their fellow citizens? No wonder "they were afraid to ask Him about this saying."
Jesus knew, however, that He was entering completely into human experience, and one of the huge mysteries of life is the relationship between love and suffering. During my reflection time for these readings today I thought about Padre Pio, and like so many of us, Padre Pio did not know exactly why the love of God was inseparable from suffering, but he firmly believed that suffering all things for the sake of God was the way to union with God. And suffer he did, physically and spiritually, from his childhood until his death. Padre Pio along with Sts Cosmas and Damian, is an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ who accepted the message of living a Gospel life.
The emphasis of Jesus Christ on the inevitability of some form of the Cross, that even He will share this, is more realistic. What Jesus' asks in the Gospels is, first, that we work hard to heal and help the suffering and the oppressed in our world; and, second, that we trust there will be a new and better life - but not necessarily tomorrow and certainly not without the Cross.
Life is serious business, Pay Attention!