Scripture Reading: John 11:1 – 45
Often times we wonder how God could watch the immense sufferings and pain that you or someone you love is undergoing without any tangible intervention. Also knowing that God could do something about it but seems as if He was not doing anything, can and do break the heart of many Christians. It is more painful to keep on suffering when you are in the presence of one who could end your sufferings.
Dear friends, today’s reflection seeks to restore hope and faith to the down trodden, to enable them cling more to God when others are walking away because of their experiences of anguish and devastating pain. A brother once told me “I lived with a chronic leukemia that viciously attacks my skin with disfiguring and debilitating pain. As a dedicated Christian, my heart was broken to think that God did not care for me enough to remove this deadly disease from my life. I could not imagine the God who I have served and believed that he loves and cares for me could let me suffer such. That he could disappoint me like this, and could break the heart of one who was truly in love with Him.
Your experience and state of mind may be similar to this brother’s confession. You may have decided not to care about God again, that following Jesus is not worth it. You may have decided not to go to church anymore, thinking that it is unnecessary. After all, the same fate is suffered by unbelievers. The story of Lazarus’ family in our scripture reference today is similar with your experience. In Verse 32, Mary said to Jesus; “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. This was not only an expression of a limited faith but also an expression of a heart broken due to disappointment. But as in Verse 7-16, Jesus risked His life to come to the household of Lazarus, it was a demonstration of God’s personal and tender loving care for the family, even though He had disappointed them. With this, we must know that our strength of faith and hope lie in knowing that God still cares for us even when there seems to be no hope. The love between Jesus and Lazarus’ family was so great that when they cried, Jesus also wept. (John 11:35). When a true lover and friend of Jesus is in great pain, Jesus also feels the pain of his
beloved. Whatever happens to a true believer touches the mind of God. In Acts 9: 4, Jesus says to Saul; “Why are you persecuting me In Christ Jesus, God cries when we cry, in Christ Jesus God cried on the cross, He suffered with us and for us. God always partakes in our experience whenever we feel abandoned at moments of great and agonizing pain. In Mark 14:34, Jesus cried “…My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
According to Fulton Sheen, “It is a cry in the mysterious language of Hebrew to express the tremendous mystery of a God ‘abandoned’ by God. Just as the sun’s light and heat can be withdrawn from us by the intervening clouds, though the sun remains in the sky, so there was a kind of withdrawal of His Father face in the terrible moment. It was a supreme act of atonement for those who doubt the presence of God, for those who hadfaith and lost it, for all who once were saints and now are sinners, in that moment of His ay of abandonment He purchase for us the grace of never being forgotten by God. No longer can anyone say that God does not know what a heart suffers in abandonment. Even when I see you not, grant me the grace to believe. ” We shall continue tomorrow.
Wisdom2:23-3:9; Psalm 34:2-3,16-17,18-19(R.2a)Luke 17:7-10 ST. LEO THE GREAT- M
- Take this prayer: Oh Loving Jesus, I thank you for your words to me today through this devotional. I ask for pardon for allowing fear and anxiety to lead me to pessimism and passivity of faith. Help me to have faith in your love and ability to deliver me and restore back my joy-in Jesus name-Amen
- Pray for the grace of courage, perseverance and peace for all those suffering around the world, that God should strengthen their faith conviction.
- Pray for those who have lost their faith in God that God should touch them to return so as to experience the joy of salvation.
- Pray seriously and meditatively the Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Exercise: Encourage someone with today’s reflection.
Memory Verse: Isaiah 49:15