During his Oct. 23 Chapel Chat, Archbishop Alexander Sample took up the theological problem of suffering, which he said poses a chief obstacle to belief in God. In the context of pandemic, racial strife, political division and wild-fires, the archbishop posed the great question: How can an all-knowing, all-powerful God, who is goodness itself, allow suffering?

God’s plan can’t be fully comprehended, the archbishop said, adding, however, that it’s possible to make some statements.

Archbishop Sample asserted that all suffering is the result of sin, even natural disasters. God created a world without suffering and sin but the disobedience of humanity’s first parents, the original sin of wanting to be gods, led to alienation between humans and creation. It also prompted strife between people, the archbishop said.

“That’s why the world needed a redeemer, to lift up a fallen world and redeem it,” he told viewers. In Jesus, the archbishop explained, suffer-ing takes on new meaning. It is through his suffering that we are saved. Humans, with their suffering, participate in that redemption.

The archbishop urged viewers to remember that reality when they at-tend Mass.

“Place your lives, place your sufferings on the paten with the bread,” he said. “Pour your suffering, your crosses into the chalice with that wine.”

— Ed Langlois

Chapel Chats with Archbishop Alexander Sample from Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon on Vimeo.