When God says ‘Let go’

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / April 19,2020 / 2nd Sunday of Easter

Once a young man went out hiking in the mountains. While out there, he slipped and down he rolled over a steep precipice. It meant sure death, but fortunately his hand happened to grab the branch of a tree which arrested his fall. Hanging precariously with the branch creaking and about to give way, he prayed aloud, “Lord, if you are up there, save me!”

A booming voice answered, “Yes, this is God.” “Dear God, please help me,” said the man desperately.

* * *

“Yes, I’ll help you,” replied the Lord. “But first, do you trust me?” “Of course, Lord, I trust you,” the man replied.

“Then LET GO of your hold!” ordered God. “I’m begging God to save me and he’s telling me to ‘let go.’ What a nonsense!” muttered the puzzled man to himself. So he looked up again and hollered, “If there is anybody else up there…help!”

Poor guy! God’s command was too much to accept. So he switched loyalty; in local parlance, “nag-balimbing!”

* * *

In this Second Sunday of Easter, the apostle Thomas manifested a lack of trust, much like the guy in the above story. And because of his doubt, the term “doubting Thomas” was coined to describe all doubters and skeptics.

* * *

The skeptical apostle said, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20,24).

Thomas got his wish after the ensuing week when the Risen Lord appeared. Mildly censuring him, Jesus said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Touch and feel my side. Cease to doubt, but believe!” (Jn 20,27).

* * *

Confronted with the real person, there was no more need for Thomas to touch and feel Christ’s wounds. Instead he fell on his knees and cried: “You are my Lord and my God.” These words of Thomas we profess in faith during the consecration of the Body and Blood in the Holy Mass.

* * *

There are times in life when God tells us to trust him, to let go of our hold even when it’s difficult to do it.

A husband-and-wife doctors, Dr. Dennis Ramon Tudtud, an oncologist, and Dr. Helen, a pathologist, were active frontliners in caring and treating corona virus patients in a hospital in Cebu City. Because of their exposure to the corona virus patients, the wife Helen was tested positive and her condition became worse.

* * *

While she was bedridden, she wondered why her loving and caring husband was not visiting her as he regularly did. She didn’t know that he also got infected with the corona virus and was confined at the lower floor. The nurse attending to her kept mum about her husband’s serious condition. Dr. Helen died and after few days, Dr. Dennis also passed away.
The daughter said tearfully, “We may never understand why God had taken them both.”

* * *

There are similar experiences that we encounter in life. It can be an incurable sickness, a serious financial problem, an unjust, undeserved treatment, and so on.

What’s my attitude when such trying moments strike? Can I go beyond the harsh realities and still discern a good and loving God? Or, do I lose faith in him, or even feel bitter and resentful? In financial problems, do I reflect that, perhaps, the fault also lies in me, that I’m not exerting enough effort to remedy my problems?

* * *

Jesus Christ did not also want to endure his terrible sufferings. That night before he was arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed to his heavenly Father: “Take this cup (of suffering) away from me.” Did he get his wish? Did his Father relented? No. Jesus could only say: “Not my will but YOUR WILL BE DONE.”

Indeed, there will be times when, after doing everything to remedy our difficulties, we can only bow to God’s will and say, “Lord, not my will but your will be done.”

* * *

Today is DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. Sister Faustina Kowalska, to whom the Lord appeared several times, declared the simple message: the Heart of Jesus is overflowing with divine mercy toward sinners and wants all to come to him with trust-filled love.

This invitation is powerfully expressed in the classic painting of the Risen Christ. Jesus himself had instructed Sr. Faustina to have the sentence “JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU” written at the bottom of that painting.

* * *

“IF YOU’RE HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, GOD ALWAYS ALLOWS U-TURNS.” That’s the message of Jesus the Divine Mercy.

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