If we aren’t careful, these times will not only inflict physical pain, but also affect other aspects of our being including social, emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual. Our faith and beliefs are being put to a severe test. There will be moments when we doubt and ask, “Why did God allow these things to happen?” Others even say that “How can God, who is all good, allow bad things to happen?” We need to be better prepared, especially in our emotional and spiritual responses to these challenges.
For the faithful follower of Christ, this is a more opportune time to spend in reflection and prayer. With stay at home mode, there’s a lot of time to spare and consequently more time to spend in prayer.In my experience, devotions and prayers varied in past seasons of my life. There were prayers who came, and some prayers were substituted for more relevant and appropriate ones. Even in the time prior to this pandemic, I had a fewer set of prayers, than what I have now in this crisis period. It evolved over time and in the first few weeks of the Enhance Community Quarantine. With time becoming more available, I started to slowly revisit the devotions that I feel I need to re-connect with. It is something that came up, it is one that my heart longed for. Must be the Spirit moving me on. And then I realized that when you and the world are undergoing a crisis similar to what we’re going through right now, there are only fewer options left. Prayer becomes priority.
We’ve come into a time that while others may have difficulties getting essentials into the home, everyone is like, equal, and experiencing the same restrictions. You may have some money but you can’t just buy easily what you want. You want to go leisure shopping but you can’t as these aren’t allowed and shops are closed. You begin to think of possibilities and scenarios. You worry about what life will be after this crisis. What will be the “new normal”?
The same thoughts may have been experienced by the disciples of Jesus after going through His Passion, Death and Resurrection (at that time of this Gospel reading: Jn. 20: 19-31). They weren’t sure of what to do, some of them were waiting for developments, while some were already planning to get back to their former lives. They were gathered in locked doors for fear of the Jews when,
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”
“However, Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Many of us would start to doubt our faith in these times of uncertainties. We become like Thomas, doubtful, unsure, fearful of what’s happening. However, we can’t stay long being in this state of doubt, anxiety and fear. We have to accept what’s happening, and trust that God knows and is in control of what will be. We have to see through what’s happening. His “Peace be with you” should ring loud and clear to us.
Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, said in his homily today, “A man of peace, is a man who isn’t looking for anything more. He says, “I’m already OK.” For the man of peace, nothing is permanent in this world. He knows that the permanent thing we want we can get only from Jesus and no one else. He modelled that in the Cross, in perfect obedience to God the Father. He trusted fully because the Father is All-Knowing, All-Loving, and Almighty, and thus, what else is lacking?In the same way, after the Resurrection, we know that the Lord is the Savior, and the Son of God. There is nothing more to ask for!
The Lord is telling us to “Have faith!” We have to remove our fears, regain confidence and start to be calm again. You need to be at peace in order to start moving on. Instead of getting more confused, you have to get back to your faith and trust in God. Building up our faith will make us become more persevering and resilient in the midst of storms and challenges. We have to set aside fear, worry, insecurities, anxieties, and focus on Jesus. There’s no point worrying about the future; any moment spent in fear is a moment stolen from tomorrow. All things will eventually come to an end and so it is time to recollect and clear our thoughts to brighter aspects of God’s mercy and compassion. We should have that clarity of vision in seeing through the darkness and madness surrounding us and model confidently to others who are still in the pits, “We have seen the Lord!”
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and we are so blessed with God’s assurance that His Love and Mercy will emerge triumphant over justice and death. May the words of St. Peter (1 Pt. 1: 3-9) be enough assurance for us to fully trust in the Lord,
“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
We have to realize that whatever responses we have to this situation, we are not doing this only for ourselves but for others. They should be able to see us, not necessarily in what we tell them, but what our actions say, “Jesus, I trust in You!”