I have a childhood friend whose uncle used to tell him every time he leaves for Sunday Mass, not to join his parents, because anyway, “Heaven is already here on earth.” Years later, his uncle was found with tumor and diagnosed with cancer. When he knew of his predicament, the uncle repented and begged the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. There was no healing from cancer but there was certainly spiritual healing. Up to the time the uncle passed away, he became pious, prayed the Holy Rosary daily and started to hear Mass again.
It was very painful for the family, but I’m sure it was a good way to die as he was given ample time to repent and return to the embrace of the Lord. He lost the battle of his body, but he was able to regain his soul back to God. In the Gospel, the Apostles were terrified of the violent storm, such that they woke Him up:
“Lord, save us! We are lost!” He said to them: “Where is your courage? How little faith you have!” then he stood up and took the winds and sea to task. Complete calm ensued; the men were dumbfounded. “What sort of man is this,” they said, “that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt. 8: 25-27).
We sometimes forget God when life is going great or there are no big problems. We go about our lives as if we are in total control. Worse, we think that God “is sleeping” and can’t see our wrongdoing, and we continue doing it “until we are crushed of the consequences”. Then we look for God to help fix the mess we’re facing. We ask the Lord to help us correct the chaos we’ve created. Provided we cleanse ourselves by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our God, in His infinite love and goodness will welcome us anytime.
The past week the Holy Mother Church commemorated the Solemnity of St. Thomas the Apostle, who even if we actually only know a little, is best remembered for drawing out some of the most famous words of Jesus. When Jesus announced His intention of going to Judea to visit Lazarus, Thomas announced to his fellow disciples “Let us go along, that we may die with him” (Jn. 11:16). Again it was Thomas who during the discourse at the Last Supper raised a concern: “Lord, we do not know the way, how can we go, when we don’t know the way?” (Jn. 14:5). But more especially he is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles told him about Christ’s Resurrection:
“I will never believe it without probing the nailprints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into his side.”(Jn. 20: 24).
St. Thomas though, eight days later, made his act of faith, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20: 28). Jesus responded, “You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and yet believe.”(Jn. 20: 29).
The Lord’s call to St. Thomas is also a call to all of us. Just like St. Thomas, the Lord is calling us to faith and real conversion. We shouldn’t need a typhoon in the scale of Yolanda or the Lord appearing to us in order for us to be converted. The storms of life will happen I’m sure, but I doubt it if we’d be able to recognize the Lord when He appears to us. Our love should be enough motivation for us to follow Him. It is only in doing that that our eyes will be opened so that we will be able to recognize Him. Through the eyes of the homeless and the hungry. In the kindness we show to the street children who knock on our car windows. In the response we give to those who need a listening ear. Yes, all these moments we should be able to exclaim, “My Lord and my God”.
P.S. Just as I was to send this reflection to the Administrator, my word document suddenly froze and there was only the processing icon on the monitor. No amount of pressing and right clicking could unfreeze and save the file. The other applications were accessible except for word document. I checked the file directory to see the file, only to discover that the last saved file contained only half of the contents of this file freezing on the screen. I said and prayed, “Lord, this is the moment for you to show your power over all. Please let me retrieve my and Your work to spare me another hour of re-thinking these reflections.” Still there was no answer. I consulted my daughter Alexa and it looked like there was no hope except to do it again. So I selected “Force Quit” to terminate the application. When it was done, I opened again the directory and retrieved the previously saved file. When it opened, another file “Recovered File 1” appeared on the screen, which upon checking, was the file I attempted to save! I checked on it and lo and behold, it was indeed the most recent file! Here comes the Lord to the rescue!
It couldn’t have come at a better time to exclaim, “My Lord and My God, Thank you so much!”