Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, February 4
In the Midst of Our Own Sufferings, May We, with an Open and Receptive Heart, Always Turn to Jesus with an Unquestioning and Trusting Faith.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith” – words which our Lord says to Jairus, the synagogue official in today’s Gospel. And a famous quote attributed to Saint Padre Pio comes to mind, “Pray, hope and don’t worry! Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer. Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart.”
As God’s children, I am sure that we have all suffered from some sort of ailment at one time or another. And I am sure that many of us have emotionally suffered from the loss of a loved one, be it a grandparent, parent, spouse or a child.
It is no consolation at the moment of our deepest grief, but we know only too well that death and suffering are a part of life, and we become introduced to it from the moment we are born. And yet, this was not part of God’s initial plan for His creation.
As we read in the Book of Genesis, due to the seductions from Satan and the fall of our first parents, death and suffering entered into the world as a result of the inherent weakness of our human nature.
And yet, for those of us who have opened our hearts and have truly embraced the truths of our faith, death and suffering have no permanent hold over us – for our Christian belief teaches us that the gifts of life and healing await each of us who keep our eyes focused on the One who is most important in our life, Jesus Christ – for union with Him is our ultimate aim, both in this life and the next!
A few years ago, I was admitted to the hospital for treatment due to a severe attack of diverticulitis, a disease of the large intestine. Late one evening, a few days into my treatment at the hospital, I was beginning to feel a very strange sensation – and this awareness, this feeling, was starting to overwhelm my sense of physical and emotional well-being.
It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to breathe, and my blood pressure was beginning to drop considerably. As a consequence, the thought crossed my mind that I was beginning to feel the end close in on me – not a pleasant experience to say the least.
Needless to say, I was not in peace, because I felt that there was so much more that I still needed to accomplish for both my God and for my family.
I remember calling my wife that night from the hospital room and telling her to get the priest, because I wanted the final Sacraments of the Church. That tells you the state of mind that I was in at the time. I actually felt that I was dying, and, for those who know me personally, they will attest to the fact that it takes a terribly heavy cross for me to feel that concerned.
My wife and the priest arrived at the same time, and I remember explaining what I was experiencing. The priest asked me if I wanted the Sacrament of “sending” or the Sacrament of healing.
Needless to say, I wanted to stay, even though I knew Heaven was my ultimate goal and a infinitely better place than here. I did not want to leave – not just yet. In my mind, there was just too much unfinished business which I felt God was calling me to complete.
Yet, I also knew that I needed to let go and just trust in His providential Love for me. I received the Sacrament for healing, and – well, I’m still here. I imagine that God wanted me to stay around for a while, and I am deeply thankful for His decision, for it was only a few months later that this Evangelization Apostolate of God’s Divine Love and Mercy would begin.
As I look back on this experience, however, I am still not sure what it was I was experiencing, and medically there was no explanation. Was it a test? To this day, I still do not know. But if it was, I pray I passed it; for in the end, I turned to my faith and found myself totally dependent upon God’s Merciful Love.
This whole experience brings to mind the words our Lord tells us today, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” For me, I believe that my trust in God’s Mercy has allowed me to reach out to each of you today, praying that what I share personally from time to time in these meditations may help each and every one of you in your own walk of faith, in your own intimate and loving relationship with our Lord and our God.
As each of us looks at our individual life’s experiences, I am sure we can reflect upon many happy ones, and some sad. Life, with all of its ups and downs, with all of its wonderful peaks and also with all of its heartrending valleys, becomes a learning process, a process whereby, if we open our hearts and allow God’s Spirit to work within us, life begins to teach us that we should take nothing for granted, except for God’s Love.
And we begin to realize that, even though each tomorrow morning is never guaranteed, God is always present – helping us, guiding us, strengthening us as we continue our journey through this vale of tears.
And we gain wisdom through both age and the experiences we realize in life. We begin to learn that our life is a most precious gift from a God who loves us beyond all human comprehension. And we also know, only too well, that where there is life, there is also suffering – suffering from issues of health, and also suffering from the consequences of sin.
And we see David realizing this fact only too well in our First Reading today. In the penitential journey he was traveling for his own past sinfulness, David suffers from another emotional blow when hearing that his own son Absalom was killed. In his remorse over hearing the news, David grieves, all the while realizing that the prophesy which God had given him through the prophet Nathan was being fulfilled.
In the midst of our own sufferings, be they spiritual, emotional or physical, Jesus comes to us as our Divine Physician, upon whom our eyes should always remain fixed. For it is through the salvific nature of His Cross and Resurrection from the tomb wherein we find our true remedy and our lasting hope.
In other words, what was once death and suffering in the world has now been forever and unalterably changed to life and healing.
Jesus demonstrated the Merciful Love of God so many times while He walked amongst us some two thousand years ago. And we just read about two of those wonderful stories of healing in today’s Gospel – healings which speak of faith on the part of those suffering, healings which speak of God’s tender Love for His children.
In the midst of our own sufferings, may we, too, turn to Jesus with an unquestioning and trusting faith. And in our prayer of thanksgiving and praise, may each of us, with an opened and receptive heart, always remember our Lord’s words of encouragement which He has given us this day – “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.’” (Mark 5:34)
- “Be gracious to me, Lord; to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul…On the day of my distress I call to you, for you will answer me.” (Psalm 86:3-4, 7)
- “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, Though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging…The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 46:2-4, 8)
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- “Cast all your worries upon [God] because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- “The LORD is good, a refuge on the day of distress; He takes care of those who have recourse to him.” (Nahum 1:7)
- “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
- “…Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (Mark 5:36b)
Prayer for the Day
“O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love, and Your Strength.
“Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting Love and strengthening Power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us;
for living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.”Saint Ignatius of Loyola