A patient, who was being wheeled into the operating room, pleaded with the young doctor: “Doc, please be gentle with me; this…this is my first time to be operated on!”
The surgeon, who also looked nervous, glanced at her and blurted out: “Do…don’t worry, madam, this…this is also my first time to do an operation!” She almost passed out!
Entrusting ourselves in the hands of a surgeon especially a greenhorn, is human faith. Spiritual faith is trusting in Jesus who said, “Don’t worry. Have faith in me; have faith in my Father.”
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The theme of the 2nd Sunday of Lent is faith. The Lord’s glorious transfiguration in this Sunday’s gospel (Lk 9,28b-36) served as a spiritual booster to strengthen the faith of his disciples in the days to come when he would suffer terribly, nailed to the cross and die in Jerusalem.
Faith is such that no matter how staunchly we live Christ’s teachings, there will be times when it flickers or even gets extinguished.
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Faith has mountain peak as well as low or valley moments in life. Peak experiences are moments of joy and fulfillment, like passing a bar or board exam, a long-awaited marriage, a visa to work abroad, a priestly ordination or profession of religious vows.
The low points of life may be misfortunes like the sudden death of a loved one, a financial crisis, a serious sickness, a failed marriage.
In his book Through the Eyes of Faith, Fr. John Powell relates about a friend George who had a coronary heart attack in his mid-thirties. He was so weakened that he could walk only short distances and had to live a sedentary life.
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Then in his 40’s, George had more than twenty operations for cancer of the face, including removal of his nose. George was asked if he ever lost faith in God. He replied: “No, never. These are the cards God gave me which I lovingly play.”
Would we have the same faith as George had?
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Peter, James and John didn’t want to leave the mountain anymore, preferring the joy and comfort of the glorious transfiguration. Peter said, “Let’s build three tents (booths) here and reside where it’s secure and blissful.”
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In today’s situation, Peter would say, “Let’s not go down anymore, where there are so much violence: the disappearance of 34 sabongeros, endless peddling of illegal drugs, throwing mud at each other during these election campaigns to mention some.”
But Jesus’ mission was not cut out that way. They went down into the valley — where they would undertake the ministry of loving service to all kinds of people and face their own sufferings which ended in martyrdom, as Jesus did.
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Ask yourself: When low points of faith come, do I worry myself to death or be overwhelmed by them? Human as we are, we will feel discouraged but, with faith in God, let’s rise up and remedy our problems. As somebody puts it: “Do your best and God will do the rest.”
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The lighter side. Carry cross. One form of penance is the endurance of ordinary sufferings. For instance, a husband, who always quarreled with his wife, came home from church and suddenly lifted his wife and carried her around.
The startled wife said, “Why did you do that? Did the priest tell you to be romantic?” The husband replied: “No! He told me to carry my cross!” (It could be the other way around).
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Lenten appeal. Let me thank those who responded to my appeal for financial assistance to poor Covid patients and needy seminarians. Since our funds are declining, may I appeal further. Think of your donation as part of your Lenten penance.
Give any amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling good for one year. For inquiry, e-mail me at: [email protected].