To respond in love is confidence in God

March 18, 2020 – Wednesday 3rd Week of Lent

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When someone presents to you laws or rules and regulations? How would you feel? Isn’t it restricting and limiting? 

This kind of feeling might have been more present these days as “community quarantine” has been imposed and gatherings of people have been suspended and discouraged by the Civil and Church authorities as precautionary measures against the virus covid-19.

When I was also younger (in high school and college), I would also always look at rules and regulations as something that put limitations to what I can do. Most of these are stated like, “you shall not,” or “don’t.” These rules and regulations were reinforced by strict parents and teachers at schools. Thus, I was taught indirectly to be fearful because if ever I will disobey any of those, then, there will be a consequence, a corresponding punishment. 

This made me an obedient yet fearful boy. I followed every rule, and so was never been late in school and had only one absent in my entire high school and that was when I got sick seriously. I was obedient to the rules and regulations, to teachers and other persons of authority because of fear. Only later that I realized that I was relating in a very unhealthy way. I felt so unfree because of my fear of breaking laws and to the authorities who will execute punishments.

Yet, this is not the right attitude. Rules and regulations, or even Church laws are originally designed to make us freer as we relate with one another, they protect us rather than harm us. We only feel them restrictive to our freedom and self-expression when we also do not have the right attitude in responding to laws or rules and regulations.

Our Gospel today has reminded us of that right attitude towards laws. Jesus himself has told us that he has come not to abolish the Jewish law and the teachings of the prophets but rather to fulfill them. Hence, it is in fulfilling the law or commandment of God that we will find joy and peace, security and life. 

So how, what kind of attitude then? We will find it in Jesus’ relationship with his Father in heaven. Jesus has a complete trust to the Father. He never doubted his intimacy with the Father and the Father’s love for him. He is indeed secured in the Father’s love. This has been manifested and was evident when Jesus was on the cross, in pain and was about to die. Despite his confusions and questions in his own suffering, he trusted the Father as he offered his life.

This is the invitation for us now. We are reminded by Jesus to take confidence in God’s tremendous love and affection for us. It is only by being confident that we also learn to follow God’s commands because we know that we respond in love and not in fear.

Hopefully, this will make us become Christians who are free and who live not in the fear of being punished or being limited by many restrictions and “don’ts” but in the confidence of being loved and cherished by God. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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