CLINGING TO OUR FAITH DESPITE ADVERSITIES

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD January 23, 2022 / 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once there was a professor in theology at a Catholic university. On his first day, he asked the students to write down what their notion of Jesus was. While going over the papers later, the professor was amused by the many curious answers. There was one that particularly caught his attention.

The student wrote: “Jesus was a great P-R-O-F-I-T. He meant “prophet.” It wasn’t surprising because when the teacher checked the course he was taking, it was Business Administration!

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Indeed, Jesus was a great prophet (God’s spokesperson). He was teaching in the synagogue “as one who had authority” and his listeners were “amazed at his teaching” (Mk 1,22).

Unlike the prophets before him who would preface their remarks with the phrase: “Thus says the Lord God,” Jesus would declare, “I SAY TO YOU.” Jesus spoke on his own.

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And in today’s gospel, after reading the scroll of the prophet Isaiah wherein it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor, he sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.”

After unrolling the scroll, Jesus openly said: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing”(Luke 1, 21). He declared categorically before all the people that he was the Messiah, the Redeemer.

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Christ’s authority was transmitted to and dwells in the Church today. He said unequivocally before leaving the earth, “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”

Jesus knew how to share his divine power like the power to forgive sins or heal the sick and the dying as some saints do, like Peter, the apostle, and the stigmatist Padre Pio.

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We Christian followers, especially Filipinos, have a staunch faith in Christ. However, there are moments and instances when we doubt or even lose faith in him.

Recall the doctor-couple who were active frontliners in a hospital in Cebu City. Because of their active caring and indefatigable healing of coronavirus patients, both were contaminated. The wife eventually passed away and the husband followed after a few days. He didn’t know that she had passed off ahead.

One of the siblings said with a heavy heart, “We may never understand why God had taken them both.”

* * *

Recently, the super typhoon Odette cut a swath of destruction in the central Visayas and southern Mindanao, bringing untold death, sufferings, and devastation.

“Why does a good and loving God allow this to happen?” some ask in disbelief. It’s difficult to fathom; however, we should remember that such calamities do happen as part and parcel of the sufferings in this “valley of tears” called Earth.

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Despite all this, let’s not give up hope. Even Jesus Christ suffered worse than what we are experiencing. On the cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When the Jews turned their backs on Jesus because they could not stomach his teachings on giving his Body as food and Blood as drink, he said to his disciples, “Do you also want to go?” Peter declared, “Lord, to whom do we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have come to believe that you are the Son of God.”

* * *

When adversities and sufferings threaten us to despair, let’s cling on to our faith. However, let’s not forget to do our part in solving our problems. Remember the saying, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.” In English, “God helps those who help themselves.”

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