One phrase stands out in the Gospel today: Then they tried to arrest Jesus again, but he escaped from their hands. This statement shows nothing happens without God allowing it. Everything happening today in our lives, God knows about it, the good things and bad things. This does not mean that he is the source of the bad things that are happening, because James tells us every good and perfect gift comes from the Father. God will never give anything that will harm us. Yet bad things happen. This corona virus epidemic is something evil, and since it is evil, it is not from God. But God allowed this for whatever reason he may have. This reason, we may not know unless God reveals it. But we know and believe God is still in control. Just as Jesus was in control when he escapes as the leaders tried to arrest him, God will lead us through whatever evil is happening around us.
How do we know this? Jesus tells us in the Gospel that even if we do not believe him, believe the works. We look at what God has done in our lives, what he has given us, what he has done for us in the sufferings we experienced before. These things prove God’s love and power to save! Look at the darkness of our lives, the uncertainties, the despair, the sorrows we experienced before and what God has done to lead us through.
In the First Reading, Jeremiah complained to God, that God enticed him. The word enticed in some translations is seduced. He blames God for seducing him to do what God wants and now, Jeremiah’s life is in danger. Yet, through all these, Jeremiah says But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior. And at the end he says sing to the Lord, praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers. Even as his life is threatened, Jeremiah still praises the Lord! God is the only One who can save us.
This virus has disrupted many lives. Perhaps you are affected physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually. In the midst of all these, people will look for ways to help them cope. Yet, the Psalm today tells us: in my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
Lamentations 2:19 tells us: Arise, give praise in the night, in the beginning of the watches. Pour out your heart like water, before the face of the Lord. In the midst of destruction, the Prophet calls people to rise and praise the Lord at night, and pour out their heart to the Lord.
I say again. God is not the source of this evil. And we may not know why he allowed this to happen. But we know this is the time to turn back to him. In the midst of our despair and darkness, we rise. In the darkness, we praise the Lord. We pour our hearts to the Lord, like water. Do not be afraid. Tell the Lord everything that is in your heart. Unburden your worries, your despair, your sorrows to him. He tells you to do so because he understands. This is the only way to find peace.
Lord, in the midst of all this darkness, I come to you. I may have rejected you before, but I come to you and trust and believe you love me. I look at the past and see what you have done for me, what you have given me. And even if my life is not good, even if I am suffering, I know you can give me peace and joy in the midst of all my suffering and darkness. Come Lord, save me.