Only witnesses who suffer bring lasting change in family and community life
Many people live in a happy fearful existence. We happily hope that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, and that God will also raise us up after death. But, at the same time, there is often a nagging suspicion that the Resurrection of Jesus, maybe, it’s not true!?
Those doubts are often fueled by terrible disasters where we long for simple answers and an all-conquering God who will answer our prayers PDQ! (=Pretty Damn Quickly).
We’ve now been under attack by Mrs Corona for two months, and many prayers have been said; but we hear these days that it might become worse!! What is going on? Is St Peter crazy when he says: “Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason: so that you would have faith and hope in God.”
St Peter is not crazy! Even more amazing is St Paul who was a highly intelligent and articulate man and was a champion for the Jewish people and Jewish faith: How ironic they were the ones to make him suffer?? Paul only saw a vision of Christ, and yet he believed and changed.
St Peter & Paul suffered many times in their lives because they spoke about Jesus: but they never gave up. Their suffering is a witness for us that there is something worth believing about Jesus, and they were totally convinced that the Resurrection was true!
Sadly, it’s often by our suffering, as faithful Christians that we also convince others that Christianity is a true religion. During the battle with Mrs Corona, let us not waver.
We do not have all the answers, but our courage and faith is a powerful witness of hope.
What helps us persevere when God seems to be sleeping and not answering our prayers (maybe God is in Lockdown?), is to look around at the world and identify signs of hope, signs of teaching, and then promote those points that we see: as we teach, we strengthen our faith.
The Gospel today recalls the time Jesus had to explain in detail all about the Messiah and the Resurrection while the Apostles were still in “darkness”. The evidence was there, but the Apostles were too dumb to see it! Isn’t it also true for us today?
The evidence is there but we keep hiding it so we can do whatever “I” want to do.
Climate Change Activists have helped us focus on issues around sustainable living on the earth, and criminal levels of pollution: what Mrs Corona has helped us discover is a beautiful world that has been buried for too long! In many parts of the world, people are seeing again eg. kangaroos in places like the central business district of Adelaide in South Australia!
More importantly, people in some places are able to see the clear blue sky again – the smog and pollution have disappeared. If Mrs Corona had been cleared away quickly, the world would not have seen the difference between ‘business as usual’ and the beauty we are killing.
Human beings need time to learn a lesson. We need time and suffering to change our lifestyles! Human beings need to be afraid before we realise the value of our neighbour!
The world is learning, once more, to work together for the good of each other.
Individuals are realising how “my behaviour” can destroy another person’s life. Many people are re-discovering how important family life is, how much we need each other.
And, finally, people have re-discovered that we are not master of the universe:
we are partners on a journey that requires discipline, restraint, and daily sharing.
Cardinal Francis George OMI (one of my recently deceased Oblate brothers) once said:
“In society everything is permitted, but nothing is forgiven; in the Church much is prohibited, but everything is forgiven.”
We must rediscover that the Church is Christ with the people of God living by a code of conduct that tries to build unity and peace: not institution of power ruled by Bishops.
Now, where would you rather live: in society alone, or in society through the Church?
The Resurrection is true. By having the courage to live as if it’s true, by maintaining faith during suffering, we help those who don’t believe. The more who believe in the Resurrection, the more peace will reign in the world: the more sharing, the more caring, the more joy.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI