March 25, 2009
4th Sunday of Lent
John 3:14-21 “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must
the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have
Our gospel today allows us to return to the “on and off” relationship of the Israelites with Yahweh. In bondage for 430 years, they cried out to God for freedom. God answered them and led them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, while traversing the land of Edom, they became impatient and spoke against God and Moses for lack of water and food (Numbers 21:5). They lost their sight of the Promised Land because of hunger and long journey to nowhere. Because of their impatience, the Lord sent poisonous snakes, bit them and many died. When they repented, God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake, set it on a pole, and everyone who looked at it lived.
The life of the Israelites is a reflection of our life. We too have asked God of something: a new house, Australian citizenship, a happy family, a comfortable life, a baby child, reconciliation with a friend, healing from a long ailment, for our children to finish college and more. We cross our fingers and hope that God, in His time, will grant our dreams. But our waiting becomes weeks, months, and years. We start to doubt God. We become impatient. We don’t want to wait. We want an instant solution or answer. In our desire to speed up the process, we end up doing hasty crazy decisions that lead us to sin or commit mistakes.
Most of our sins are caused by our impatience. We don’t want to be suspended in mystery, uncertainties and suffering. We want to reach the end without delay. We want to solve the puzzle. When the devil sees this growing impatience in us, he will offer an “instant solution” - a very tempting alternative to God’s promise. This is the modern poisonous snakes. And it bites when one becomes impatient.
But God’s love and forgiveness never ceases. In the New Testament, instead of offering a bronze snake on a pole to look upon for healing, God offered His only Son – on the wooden pole. Anyone who looks and believes in Him will be saved. (John 3:14). But believing here should go beyond words. Believing means following the footstep of Jesus. Every time I look at the crucifix, I’m inspired by Jesus’ patience and endurance to hold on until death. It gives me strength to move on and carry my daily crosses with determination. Surprisingly true, when one believes, patience flows deep!
To be patient is to be calm, to allow God to be in control, to smile when plans are not working well, to gladly tolerate delays, to hug the unknown, and to be hopeful.
In our present world of “quick fix, rush job, instant food, digitals, internet, cut and paste, Google, liposuction, lotto, overnight affair, and divorce” - we are made to believe that PATIENCE is no longer a virtue. If you are slowly becoming a believer of this, stop for awhile. Watch a sunset, spend time with your lolo and lola, remove the white hair of your father, cook guinatan with your mom, or visit the Blessed Sacrament for an hour.
There is always joy in discovering that simple things in life can teach us the virtue of patience. Open your eyes. Good things are fruits of hard work, patience, and endurance.
"Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures."
- Joseph Addison
- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ
Zamboanga Catedral, March 22, 2009