By FR. BEL SAN LUIS, SVD
There’s a joke that Jesus Christ had to rise from the dead because the grave was borrowed. The wealthy owner, Joseph of Arimathea, was getting it back on the third day!
Of course, that’s not the reason why Jesus rose from the dead. He wanted to prove that what he predicted and promised about his rising would happen.
The Gospel, John 21, 1-19, relates how the risen Christ appeared to his apostles at the Sea of Tiberias. This was his third appearance after his Resurrection. Jesus’ appearances served to strengthen and reinforce the faith of his close followers.
For most of us Christians, believing in the Risen Lord is NOT very much a problem. But in PRACTICAL life, believing in him can be very difficult when trials, failures, and adversities come our way.
I had a friend who was very active in her parish as member of the Legion of Mary, Cursillo and other organizartions. When she migrated to the USA, she continued her pastoral involvement.
Everything went well, until she was diagnosed to have cancer of the uterus. The finding devastated her. But she and church co-workers prayed earnestly, trusting the Lord would heal her. Instead of getting better, however, the insidious sickness spread and became even more painful. The lady got so dejected and disheartened that she stopped praying altogether. Hearing from her friends the bad news, I felt very said and mumbled some prayer, asking the Lord to understand, in his mercy and compassion, her physical and mental disposition in those moments.
Other adversities that we can encounter are a business that’s floundering, an unjust treatment by an employer or superior. Or, we’re badly hurt in serving the church or parish, or feel resentful over a broken family and we take it against God.
When we experience such trials, we should remember that faith is accepting God not only in good times, but also in bad.
Faith in God also requires faith in ourselves. When some people come to me asking to bless their car or motorcycle, I tell them that my blessing is good up to 90 kilometers per hour only. If you go beyond that, I add, “That’s your own look-out.” Of course, it’s all said in banter.
What I mean is even if I bless your vehicle but you’re a hell driver and reckless, my blessing won’t work. In fact, what should be blessed is the driver—and with more holy water!—because he is the controller.
That holds true also for our upcoming election. We pray for good leaders and politicians but if we vote for candidates who have a bad track record and known plunderers, and have not shown any positive achievement for his or her constituents, then we have nobody to blame except ourselves. YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE!
A spiritual writer once said: “There are two kinds of faith—a DELIVERING faith and a SUSTAINING faith. Delivering faith is when God instantly turns your situation around. When that happens, praise and thank the Lord. But that’s not always the case. It takes a greater faith to have that sustaining faith. That’s when one can’t understand why adversities come and life does not seem to make sense but still you say, “God I can’t understand what’s happening to me. But I know you are on my side. And as long as you are for me, that’s all that matters.”