Life is a constantly evolving series of victories, of defeats, of happy moments, and of sadness. As I write this, some friends and their loved ones are in the hospital, fighting the sickness brought by the deadly virus. Many have become victims and several have even passed on to the great beyond. These have created so much grief and difficulties such that in the deepest moments of sorrow, the light starts to dim and anyone can fear that there isn’t an end to the darkness.
In the Gospel today (Mk. 9: 30-37), Jesus was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
The Gospels have spoken much on suffering; even last Tuesday the readings were about the depth of the love of God, such that “He gave His only Son”. (see Jn 3: 13-17) But this love required Jesus to suffer and die on the Cross. Even the Blessed Mother has to go through such suffering during her life, as read in Wednesday’s Gospel (Jn. 19: 25-27), “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
Our faith and loyalty to the Lord is tested every now and then. It is certainly not God’s doing, but He allows us to be subjected to trials in order to see how brave and courageous we are to follow Him despite the costs. We are encouraged to persevere knowing that there is a light at the end of the darkness, and that suffering isn’t an end in itself.
The Scriptures exhorts us to obedience, humility, and simplicity. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of obedience and humility to God the Father’s Will. In his letter to the Philippians (Phil. 2: 6-11) St. Paul said,
“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
God gave us the gift of free will, so that it is up to us to follow Him or to do otherwise. Yet, we are reminded that at the end of the day, the will of God always prevails, regardless of how grandeur or how noble our plans are. My late Mom used to remind us, “Man proposes, God disposes”. In my talks with young people in the ministry, I always encourage the need to be in tune with the Lord, so that in doing so, we eventually will know what paths we are going to follow. Life doesn’t need to be sophisticated; the Lord taught us that the simplicity of a child can lead to eternal rewards in Heaven someday,
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
A child is one who is small, helpless and needy. He cannot do things and chores by himself, but needs the support of parents and others. So this should be our relationship with God. We have to shed off pride and arrogance, become humble and simple before God, whose measure of greatness is not power, fame, and wealth.
“God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thes 2: 14