March 22, 2021 – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/032321.cfm)
A motivational speaker Terry Mark once said, “The world today is ruined more by misunderstanding than by hatred. Hatred is born out of misunderstanding”.
Misunderstanding is something we are most familiar with in life. True indeed we know how bad it is when we misunderstand things. And we know how much worse it is when we are being misunderstood and to be misunderstood by others. Misunderstanding is indeed dangerous, can caused havoc and hatred among us people and can even jeopardize our faith in God.
Our readings today are also about misunderstanding.
Worn out by their journey, the Israelites misunderstood God’s intentions and actions of saving them from slavery in Egypt. They resorted instead to complaining & grumbling against God & Moses. Thus, they were punished for their lack of faith & trust in God with pestilence of poisonous & deadly snake bites. As they understood & realized their own mistake, they begged for God’s mercy & received God’s protection from the punishment of death, by gazing towards the bronze serpent mounted on the pole whenever they are bitten by the deathly snakes. Take note, God did not erase their punishment & misfortunes, but required them instead to gaze upon & believe in God’s cure or antidote to protect & spare them from pestilence death.
In our gospel today, Jesus is also very much misunderstood by the people. The people simply cannot and did not get to understand Jesus. Jesus already explicitly said: “For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins… When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” Yes, Jesus is the “I AM” – the one lifted up & must be believe and trusted so that we might not die from our sins. He is the God’s cure and antidote to our sins & punishment. He is the bronze serpent mounted on the pole that will save us from the curse of our sins if & when in life we gaze upon & believe in Him.
And the more we misunderstand God & one-another, the more we cannot believe in God & the more we ruin our own lives & each other’s lives. And that is why we should be conscious of the danger misunderstanding in our lives. It can cause havoc to our world & to our faith in God.
Consider this… Since last year, we have been praying for a medicine for Covid-19 pandemic. We have been praying for God’s intervention to save & spare us from this pandemic & to protect us from the spreading virus. Now that vaccines are available, misinformation & misunderstanding abound as to the efficacy of the said available vaccines. Doubts, fears, concerns, questions are on the rise. God is already intervening & has intervened but we still cannot believe because we miss to understand. Pope Francis said that to be vaccinated is our moral obligation, “morally everyone must take the vaccine… it is the moral choice because it is about your life… but also the lives of others.” In other words, take the vaccine not only to protect & cure oneself but to help protect & cure our world. And regardless how politicized and economized it is, understand & believe then that what we have now is God’s intervention & action for us now.
Pardon our grumblings & foolishness, Lord. Make us understand that as you said, I AM – that you are God’s saving acts for our healing & redemption, and that we may believe & have more trust in God now & always.
So Help us God. So May it Be. Amen.