Watch Fr. Pilmaiken’s homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B), Life is Beautiful.
There’s a movie by the title Life is Beautiful. Yes, life is beautiful indeed. If we have in mind that life can be beautiful without the tests and trials we undergo, it would be better if we become hermits to avoid seeing the pain and the misery in the world. But not even cloistering ourselves would free us from seeing what happens in the world. Then, it is possible to hear on the other hand, “Life is hard,” which prompts in my head…. “it is hard compared to what?”
Many may see marriages in which love is the last thing one can see. We may have neighbours who are on the brink of having nervous breakdowns. At every school, there are teenagers who are at odds with their parents. We encounter on the newspaper and media crime, violence, and destruction in different parts of the world. Thus, somebody may jokingly say: you are lucky if you get out of it alive.
Each of us personally experiences suffering, illness, and death in different degrees and in a variety of forms. Therefore, when we come to the story of Job, we may sympathise with him when he cries out, “Does not the human being have a hard service on earth?” (Job 7:1). A person was reflecting if God is so compassionate, if God loves so much the world, wouldn’t it take a snap of the fingers for Him to solve the world’s problems at once, to finish famine, war, misery, etc.? Since we continue seeing all of this in the world many deny the existence of God. A quick example – At the end of the Second World War, a Rabbi, after realising that 6,000,000 of his fellow people – God’s chosen people – had been exterminated by the Nazis, this man of faith came to the conclusion that there is not God.
To blame God for all the ills and infirmities in the world is not the answer. Maybe the first place to take look is within every human being: one’s inhumanity to another. Wars are started by human beings due to our ambition and stubbornness, food shortages in many parts of the world are caused to keep the world prices up, or fixing prices; millions are being abused and exploited and manipulated and killed by other human beings like us. Sometimes we remain quiet, sometimes we raise our voice. Most of the times we are pushed into systems that conduct the whole population to sinful actions, thus a cloud of relativism makes us believe that everything is alright when a majority decides. Even though we see it is human beings who create systems of sin we wonder: Why God allows evil? I have no answer to that. Why did Jesus himself had to endure a horrifying death? Why did he have to undergo so much suffering to redeem us from our sins? Perhaps God allows suffering in the as a purifying fire, to remind us that humanity is noble, splendid; that under all skies our happiness lies elsewhere and not here. An author said: “human life is a meaningless absurdity without God and hence suffering is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” Facundo Cabral, a South American author once said: “From the cradle to the tomb is a school, and what we call problems are indeed lessons.”
We have to live through the mystery of suffering not like Job who found his judgment clouded by pessimism saying that life seemed for him as a disease that spreads from generation to generation. For a pessimistic person, circumstances are always going to get a lot worse before they get worse. Nevertheless, we are called to live through the mystery of suffering like Paul who voluntarily made himself a slave for deeper hope and higher motive, namely, “I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, so that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor 9:23). Yes, God does not offer us a bed of roses, but he will lead us through pains to a fuller life in Christ. God will move in a mysterious way to perform his wonders. This coming Friday, we celebrate the world day of the sick, here at St Michael. In this celebration God gives us the sacrament of the to find consolation to our ailments for all those who need the prayer of the Church and the God given signs to be united to Christ suffering, to be strengthen by his peace, to obtain forgiveness of sins, in the hope that the sick person may be restored to health, not only physically, but also spiritually, which conducts the person to the salvation of their soul, and lastly, to be prepared for the final hour, in which we all be facing God.
That is our hope. If we do not hope, we will not find what is beyond our hopes. Hence putting on the armour of hope, let us each get actively involved in alleviating some of the sufferings of others, as Jesus did. Instead of battling with the question, “Why suffering?” Jesus moved to action by healing the afflicted. “That evening, at sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were sick or possessed with demons… And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons” (Mk 1:32-33). All that is necessary for the victory of evil is that good people do nothing when others suffer. Hence let us reach out by the means we have for those who have no voice, the weak, the suffering; and let us be witness to the truth that God still loves all people in their weakness and frailty.
Life is Beautiful, Fr. Pilmaiken Lezano, 04/02/2018, 100.56 KB