Third Sunday of Easter
Fear, anxiety, despondency, panic, hopelessness, anger at life, emptiness of meaning, listlessness! Name them! These are feelings we experience from time to time. We struggle to make sense of a confusing or stubborn situation, but no sense seems forthcoming. A loved one is sick and everything has been done and yet, no cure is in view. She is dying leaving very young children behind! A child is born with a death threatening condition; a breadwinner loses a well-paying job without reason; a couple ends their many years of marriage with so much anger and bitterness; dreams of good relationships, a good life, good and loving family, and hopes of a better tomorrow for family, children and grandchildren seem more an illusion than a reality. At such moments, the soul struggles to live with meaning. Hope is born out of meaning, and meaning is conferment of a purpose in an apparently purposeless situation. The heart is troubled with desolation when it is surrounded by confusion and senselessness. The soul continues to ask: what is the meaning of this stubborn situation? A meaningless situation is like undigested food, causing psychic and spiritual constipation. And it really can make us very restless!
Why are you troubled? Jesus asks us that question each time we find ourselves in moments of darkness. He does not so much expect an answer, as much as he wants us to open our eyes to see that He is always by our side, and to let us see the truth that EVERYTHING that happens in our lives has reason; nothing is senseless. But until we find that reason, the meaning behind the tragedy and stubborn situation, the lesson hidden in the pain, the new life promised by the betrayal and disappointment, the inner meaning of our physical and psychic pain, we remain troubled! Even His suffering and cruel death have meaning in God’s scheme: through His suffering and death, He would show us the way to the Father, break the power of sin and death holding humanity hostage, teach us the way of enduring love and obedience to God, truth, love and justice. For all this, it was necessary that He suffer and die.
Why are we troubled, then? Because we haven’t found God’s light in our desolation. Life can be so complicated when we feel completely cut off from divine light. We cannot see beyond our pain, the agony, the tragedy, the disappointment in our lives. We become overwhelmed with these troubling feelings that some may even wish they were dead, for life has lost meaning. Why wake up in the morning if there is no reason to get up? Why take care of one’s self when there is nothing to live for? Why smile when all that life offers is merely tears and pain? The totality of the painful experience thickens the darkness and makes it even harder to see any ray of divine light. Some in this condition are so angry they become darkness, turning themselves over to the prince of darkness and joining forces with evil to fight against light, love, truth, justice and communal living. Their soul becomes tragically infested with evil! This is more common than we know.
If only we could let ourselves be helped to see the truth: that God directs each of us ever so gently on the path to the fulfillment of our destiny, just as Jesus fulfilled all that was written about him. All experiences, good and bad, are divine messages leading us towards the best of who we are supposed to be in God’s mind. The life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus is our eternal model. If only we would allow Him to take his place in our lives!
Oh God, grant that I may see you in my troubled heart! Grant that I may see the way you are leading me through my troubles! Open my eyes to see the reason behind my pain and grant me the courage and strength to follow your inspired directions now and every day of my life. Amen