“Sustaining Hope in Time of Terrible Loss”, by Fr. Efren Jimenez, OFM

Sustaining hope in time of terrible loss is a great virtue. It directs our attention that there is greater truth in God, creation must be respected and awed and must be seen as sustainers of life.

Vivid images of tragedy come crossing my mind as I write this reflection – powerful wind, uprooting trees, wiping out homes and buildings, unleashing rampaging sea water into the city, killing thousands! ‘Yolanda’ sounds like “yoledet” a Hebrew word which means holiday! Yes! Nature went berserk and ‘feasted’ without mercy! It did not only waste lives and meagre properties of the ordinary people, but destroyed their hope and their future! It was a waste of spirit, a waste of hope and confidence – it seemed it was sacred loot – “these things you’re staring at … everything will be destroyed.”

Sustaining hope in time of terrible loss is a great virtue. It directs our attention that there is greater truth in God, creation must be respected and awed and must be seen as sustainers of life. This God is alive not only in himself but in the life of every human being.

Our readings this Sunday, as we move towards the end of the Liturgical year, suggest these thoughts for reflection.

(1) The “day of the Lord”, a frequent theme in the scriptures, is portrayed (couched) in cosmic imagery. It is a day of clouds and fire, recalling the past intervention of God in which Divine presence avert before Israel as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It is a time of upheaval in the Heavens when the Earth trembles. People are terrified, but it is a time of purification and preparation for the end; God is doing battle for His people, and all who have placed their faith in God can be full of confidence in the middle of confusion and disaster, not because God has no control of the world, but guiding all of history to its fulfilment.

In the New Testament, the day of the Lord, which is the moment of God’s judgment and saving intervention, become also the day of Jesus Christ. It is time to reveal His glory and fullness of creation, a term for judgment and end of oppression and injustice.

As this super typhoon came suddenly and swiftly the day of the Lord will come upon as swiftly like a warrior completing his victory to the accompaniment of cosmic power and wonder. Is this not an image of God revealing his power over the world’s struggle in the grip of evil?

(2) These texts of our readings touch the present reality of our historical situation. The ways we live our lives now, and the disposition we make in our society and its resources and opportunities in economic and political spheres, unfold the events that make up the day of Lord within our history.

We are reminded that today amidst massive destruction of Mother Earth, there is inherent sacredness of creation itself, and in this context salvation means working to bring about the transformation of creation so that it would vividly show the Divine Sacredness.

We must bring ourselves to greater consciousness that nature, ourselves, and the whole created world is groaning for God’s act of redemption.

as published on November 17, 2013, Parish Bulletin
About Fr. EJ and his reflections

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