God of Surprises!

Ika-10 Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon–K
5 Hunyo 2016

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Graphics by Asp. Paul Lopez, Don Bosco Seminary

Marami sa atin ang gusto ng magic. Kahit na alam nating dinadaya lang naman tayo nito. When we were kids, it left us breathless. And even now that we are already grown-ups, it still surprises us.

Alam nating kapag nahati ang katawan ng tao, tiyak patay ito. Kapag ganun, siyempre mag-iiyakan tayo. Pero hindi sa magic. In fact, kapag nahati ang katawan ng babaeng assistant ng magician, magpapalakpakan pa tayo. Kasi nga, sa magic, may happy ending.

And for most of us who were initiated to fairy tales when we were kids were accustomed to the phrase “and they live happily ever after.” At nang tumanda tayo ng kaunti, we insist that the producers make sure that soap operas we watch on TV ought to end with a happy ending.

Sa liturgy natin ngayong Linggo, we come to see and appreciate that facet of God which surprises us, a God who also, like us, loves happy ending.

Sa first reading, this merciful God used the Prophet Elijah in showing how compassionate God is to the grieving widow who lost her only child. Maiintindihan natin kung bakit ganun na lang ang galit ng biyuda kay Elijah. Sa mga kabataan ngayon, ang tawag nila dito, may #hugot. Kasi nga naman, kahit na tag-gutom, she welcomed Elijah since who claimed to represent God. And yet, despite this good act, something terrible happened to her. She lost her only child.

But there was a twist to the story. The boy lived again, thanks to God’s intervention. And so, the woman had a first hand experience of God’s goodness. That’s the time she believed.

Sa second reading, St. Paul wrote a letter to the Galatians. Kasi nga, the community was undergoing deep crisis. There was a growing faction between the Christian converts who were once Jews and the non-Jews who were newly baptized as Christians. Paul had to intervene. But before he could do that, he needs to establish his credibility. Sino nga naman ba ang nagbigay ng authority para ayusin niya ang sigalot ng dalawa?

Paul had to mention his experience as a devout Jew, and his conversion to the person that he is now. However, he owes this transformation to no one, save from God who is so good in calling him even before he was in the womb of his mom.

Hindi kinailangan ng Diyos si St. Paul para matupad ang nais Niya. And yet, because He is good, He entrusted His work to him. And Paul saw that. Perhaps, we could learn from this humility of Paul. God does not need us. It is the other way around. In Fact He knows our needs even before we could tell Him about them. Our Gospel this Sunday proves this.

Nasalubong ni Jesus ang libing ng kaisa-isang anak na lalaki ng isang babaing balo. Unlike the widow featured in the first reading, this poor lady was not expressing any anger about the loss of her son, her only child. In fact, in this episode, we did not hear from her any single word. Siguro, she was just grieving by herself.

This is how St. Luke described the encounter, “Nahabag ang Panginoon nang makita ang ina ng namatay.” This compassion which Luke associated with Christ moved Him to comfort the widow, and tell her, weep not. Huwag kang tumangis.

The word compassion literally means to “suffer with,” to take on the pain of the other person, to be identified with the other person and to feel the other person’s pain. This is the brand of compassion which led Jesus to comfor the widow. This is an example of a compassion in action.

This same compassion for us made Him suffer for, be cruified for us, and eventually, this same compassion made Him offer His life for us.

God is a God of suprises. He cannot be contained in the conventions made by man. And I am sure, He also expects that we, too, having felt His goodness, His compassion, His love, may come to our senses that God expects us to to surprise Him by granting forgiveness to that one person we hold our grudge against for the longest time, by cutting off that habit which makes us feel so distant from God’s love reach, by allowing us to be loved by Him.

 

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