April 24, 2024

God is not the author of suffering, sickness, and death. God is the author of well-being, health, and life.
In one of the wake prayer services I administrated, somebody honestly pitched in my homily, “Ania ngay kasta ti napasamak ta isuti naikeddeng nga nakem ti Dios.”
I was taken unguarded but I have to continue the service. I need to preach as well, “Haan nga nakem ti Dios nga agrigat ken matay ti tao. Ngem ipalubos na.”
It is not God’s will for humanity to suffer and die but he allows it to happen.
It is indeed difficult to explain to the people the realities of suffering, sickness, pain, and death where faith is still shallow and life is founded on material things. It will result to pessimism and more disbelief.
God is a faithful, merciful, and compassionate God. This is a beautiful message of Lenten Season.
Let us read Genesis 9:8-15 to have a better understanding of life and faith.
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
Underline one of the facets of the covenant, “there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” Then we hear in the radio and watch on television and social media the many floods that devastated many countries and ended lives. Is this the will of God or the will of man? Is this the work of God or the work man?
Natural disasters are coming one after the other and yet we continue blame God and we fail to see the root cause. It is never the will of God for man to suffer from the natural disasters but because of the abuses of humanity to Mother Nature. Mother Nature is not actually taking revenge to humanity but it’s the natural effect of humanity’s abuses on Mother Earth. We destroy Mother Earth and we destroy our natural home. In effect we destroy ourselves. We cause suffering, destruction, pain, and death.
The Book of Psalm 25:4 is affirming the covenant and how we should be faithful to it. (cf. 10) “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant. Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.”
Conversion is not about the “removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:18-22
In every generation, we are exhorted seriously to feed and update our conscience. Conscience can be scrupulous and erroneous.
The conscience is the unwritten law and covenant of God with us the reacts in moral issues. I may say “inayan” is the cultural conscience that speaks straight and confront issues involving cultural values and vices.
Hence, we must not stop listening to God. We must have a constant conversation with God to update, upgrade, and renew our conscience. Otherwise, we condone to evil deeds. We do evil because everybody is doing it or because simply human law made it legal. Not all practical and legal means morally correct. The constant conversation with God is called prayer.
We need to fast and abstain. Fasting and abstinence are not sheer Lenten directives. They are spiritual disciplines to aid us feed our soul and our conscience. We need to give more especially to the needy.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:12-15)
Stop the abuse to Mother Earth. Stop forest and mountain fires before another flood will come.
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