Did you know that “Jesus wept” is the shortest passage in the Bible? He wept because his friend Lazarus had died. He wept because he was overwhelmed in sadness and needed to release his feelings.

What a great example.

We all experience times when we need to release our emotions. Because we are human, we all experience pain, and it is up to us how we handle that pain and work through it.

If you recall this particular Scripture passage, you will remember some friends of Jesus were angry with him for not arriving earlier to help Lazarus. Anger is a natural emotion to have when someone you love is dying or has died. It is natural to say “why me?”

God is not picking on us when bad things happen to us. But it can certainly feel that way in the moment.

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Jesus consistently showed compassion to people going through painful moments and he can show that same compassion to you.

Often we don’t recognize Jesus in the friends, family and neighbors who want to offer compassion to us, but that is exactly what they are doing. They are being the compassionate hands of Jesus. It may not seem like much when they say, “I will pray for you," but there is not much more they can do. No words of condolences or offers to help mean much when you are experiencing such pain.

What can help is to know you are surrounded by people who love you and are praying for you.

This level of pain can be especially hard around the holidays. The shared traditions and rituals will be replaced with new ones and that can be hard. Change is hard.

But with friends, family and neighbors and others who love you, you can experience something new. This “new” ritual or tradition does not mean you are forgetting the old ritual. It does not mean you are leaving the “old” memories behind. It simply means you are open to experiencing something new.

I am reminded of my favorite Scripture passage, and I hope it gives you some comfort as you think about your future.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future full of hope.” -- Jeremiah 29:11

Be open to something new this holiday season and recognize Jesus in that opportunity!

Mark Nuehring is director of faith formation at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester. "From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at life@postbulletin.com with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.