May 10, 2020 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051020.cfm)
Not only we are already almost half way through the month but also already half way through the year. And we are yet far from what we have initially planned early for this year 2020. Our global reality of viral pandemic has rendered our initial plans and programs for this year on-hold, hanging and at the verge of scrapping down the drain. Worse, nowadays ours is confusing and ground-shaking times since we find our “life-givens” – our basic presumptions and systems now unreliable (if not crashed).
Moreover we find ourselves in a situation where and when “no possible way to know what is going to happen tomorrow, we never know”. During these trying times in our lives, as we struggle daily with the “What’s now? What’s next” of our limited, constricted, and uncertain reality, we grapple also for the “Why? How come? What for?”, that could somehow provide us some sense, meaning, and direction to our lives today.
Corrie ten Boom once said in her book, The Hiding Place: “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.” Somehow these words of wisdom could provide us a perspective as to how we can view what we are going through and happening to us these days.
These words are based on Corrie’s experience of being a Dutch Christian survivor of the horrors of Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust. In her experience of the worse of human disaster and cruelty as well as the best of Christian faith, Corrie came to realize and believe that as Christian believers, our LIFE now is and can be God’s preparation of us for the New Life He promised us. Understanding then our present Now as God’s preparation may provide us a much-wider perspective, allow us to go beyond and find meaning to what is happening and we are going through now.
Based on her experiences of the challenges of living life in faith, here she is counselling us now that whatever happens and is happening to us, what we have gone and going through (however it may be) are just but mere God’s PREPARATIONS for His promise of our much better tomorrow than what we envision to be. In other words, there is more to life than just what we have Now, for Now is just but a preparation for God’s promise of more abundant and better life ahead and anew for us. And we are now just being prepared by God, and God is preparing us for something greater than these things we have now.
Somehow Jesus has the same message for us in our gospel today. In admitting that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus is preparing us His disciples for the coming life ahead. Jesus said: “I am going now to prepare a place for you”. He is preparing us and we are being prepared by Him. And this is not just about the place prepared for us out “there and after”, but all about ourselves, (you and I, here & now) being prepared for a role, task and mission – a responsibility in God’s plan of more abundant life for all.
In Jesus, God thus is preparing us according to His plans and purpose for us. In Jesus, God is calling, forming, training, retooling, and redesigning us now to be suited for the promise of our new life with Him.
Jesus as our “Way, Truth and Life” is God’s signs, guidelines, and means of preparing us. The witness of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection with us prepared and still preparing us for the promise of eternal life. And as we, believers of Jesus and our Father are being prepared, the challenges of living life in faith we Christians are going through now may be lived, not as it is, but as a preparation to a witness of better future for the world now and beyond.
In other words, our experience of Christian life now is and should be lived same way as in holding pre-departure areas in airports and terminal or bus stops’ waiting sheds in preparation for a journey to a better future destination God is offering us anew, along with the conviction that God and Jesus is not finish with us yet. The journey is not yet over. There is more yet to come for us with God.
So for now, take heed Jesus’ advice: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and in Me also”, since we are being PREPARED for something anew. BRACE ourselves therefore, for we are part of the preparation in God’s grand plan of things in life.
May we have the patience and faith to endure and persevere more with what we are going through Now, so that we may be worthy and better prepared for our responsibility to a much better world ahead, God offering us now. Amen.
(By: Fr. Aphelie Mario Masangcay CSsR, a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary stationed in Gwangju South Korea, though now still stranded in Cebu until further notice for available flights.)