One of my closest friends in High School became a victim of the big ‘C’ at an early age, just some years after she started practicing Medicine. She was quite bubbly when we were in High School; aside from that she was very helpful to her less-gifted classmates, a reliable friend, very humble, and lived a full life of service to God and others. People thought God shouldn’t have taken her, as she was still in the peak of career and work. A great and rewarding life was still waiting ahead of her. Why did God allow it to happen?
Many times in our life experiences, we overlook the abundant love that God has for us. We think that God isn’t affected whenever we have problems but that isn’t the case. When we’re sad, God weeps with us too.
In the Gospel today, Jesus showed the crowd how He loves others, even in the face of ridicule. The raising to life of Jarius’ daughter was a case in point,
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (Mk. 5: 21 – 43)
The crowd thought there’s no more point disturbing the Lord since the girl of twelve has died. But Jesus called for faith even when all seemed lost. In between this story, a woman afflicted with hemorrhage for twelve years, who had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors, came behind Jesus in the crowd and touched His cloak. She had actually spent all that she had, yet her situation only grew worse. In other words, she was in a state of hopelessness! But she trusted the Lord and in her despair, she found her only hope in Jesus. She fell down before the Lord and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
These stories of Jesus’ compassion for the hopeless also tell us not to give up when all seem lost. He reassures that He is there with us in the journey. In the First Reading, the Book of Wisdom tells us,
‘God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.’ (Wis. 1: 13ff)
He did not make hatred, wars, climate change, racism, or immorality. He did not make selfishness, disrespect, pride nor does He sugarcoat lies into truth. He does not want all the suffering that is in the world today. ‘For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. Yes, God created us in His own image and likeness, but He also gave us free will to choose between good and evil. Then when Adam and Eve fell, it was like, ‘But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.’
All the trials and challenges we face are not the end in itself. These are meant to make us stronger, better, and smarter. We shouldn’t look at these grimly but with fervent hope that something good will come out of these, if not in this life, in the great beyond. Even should it result to death, we should rejoice that it will give us everlasting life. Thus, we should be more thankful if given the opportunity to dedicate our lives to God.
Fr. Armand always likes to remind that,
‘In order to be truly happy, you should inspire others. When others become inspired, you make them happy. When you see others becoming happy because of what you did, you actually become happier. So, it really means that, being happy is not really about you, but is about inspiring, sharing and giving of yourself to Jesus and to others.’
This Sunday, we are presented with a challenge: Do we recognize that our life has a greater purpose than just getting old and eventually dying?
Let us trust that God will create good from evil and He will turn any misfortune into a blessing beyond our imagination. We just need to fully trust Him. Our faith will tell us not to rationalize what’s happening, we just need to cling to Him, hold on, and need not be afraid.
“I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.” (Ps. 30: 2a)