1 July 2008 Tuesday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Am 3, 1-12; Psalm 5, 4-8; Matthew 8, 23-27
There are storms we cannot weather. Storms that we do not have control over. Like difficulties arising from our family history, the past, our secrets, and our fears. We cannot undo them. But we can change our attitude about them. It is possible for us not to be determined by them.
Let’s take failure. When you fail, especially in a major exam or assignment, there is nothing one can do. When our grades and evaluative points plunges, we become depressed. We feel that it would be difficult to rise from the disappointment. We, as Jesus puts it in the Gospel, lose whatever little faith we have in ourselves and eventually in God. Unconsciously, we connect religious experience with success. We feel that God is with us when our grades soar and we are showered by praise. There is indeed joy in accomplishment, or fulfillment in creative endeavor.
But just as the disciples experienced helplessness in midst of the storm as the victims of the previous typhoon, a person who fails does not get peaceful: they toss in the bed like being rack by waves. Peaceful sleep does not come to us unless we confront and accept our finite condition. We all fail. But the thing is, Jesus also did. Look at what happened to him: when he died, everything was a failure. His friends left him. It didn’t feel that his mission would continue when he was tortured and crucified. He died as a criminal and people left him.
Our experience tells something more about failure. We may have placed all of our energies in our projects or performance, however, we know that there is always a margin or a possibility that our brilliance and efficiency is not the last word. On the other hand, we may have experienced putting a little effort on something that eventually became a success! However, we still do not put our faith on fate. But this means that there is a world far bigger than ourselves, or, to use a Star Wars term, a force far greater than our own.
Failure then should direct our eyes out of our self absorption to trust God that things will come out better. That all shall be well. In other words, we need to have greater faith, not just with ourselves but with God. When tragedies happen to us, there is no way for us to resurrect the dead or cure a terminal illness. Many Filipinos who have been resilient has been so because they have pinned their hopes on God. This is profound faith.