4th Sunday of Easter
When the terrorist attack happened in New York on the eleventh of September 2001, I heard some people say: “This is a punishment from God on the Americans because of their sins.” Do you agree with them?
When the terrible earthquake happened in Haiiti, I heard some people say: “God wants to test the faith of the people.” Do you agree with them?
One time, when I visited a person with cancer, I heard her say: “This is the cross that God sent to me to make me suffer like Jesus.” Do you agree with her?
Another time, as I met a poor family, the husband complained: “I feel that God does not care much about our poverty.” Well, how do you think?
One time, I met one of my friends who had an automobile accident, I heard him say: “Maybe God took revenge on me because I said something bad about him.” Do you share his view?
Ah, I also encountered a young man who said to me: “I burned their house because they oppressed my religion. God wanted me to use violence to take back justice.” Do you agree with this?
There are other cases where people say that God is directly involved in bad things happening to them. And we all know from experience that our image about God influences our belief in God, and our belief in God influences the way we treat one another. Therefore, the important question to be asked here is: “Do you agree with these views?”
I would agree with them if I did not meet one person in my life. That person reveals to me a very different truth about God. He lives and dies for this truth. Please allow me to just briefly tell you a few things about his words and actions, would you?
First, one time, one of his friends asked him: “Show me God or the Father!” He answered: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” And today, once again, he says to us: “The Father and I are one.” Ok, if we believe in his words, we can conclude that the best way we can see God is to look at him. Let us now look at him to see how God looks like and how God acts.
Whenever he met sinners, he talked to them, ate with them, encouraged them to restart their life, and showed them mercy. His method of treating them is to use sincere love to help them reach a conversion of heart. He never used violence to punish them. He even risked his life to protect them.
One remarkable thing about him is his ability to know what is going on in the mind and heart of people. Many were shocked when he responded to their deep thoughts. One time, his close friend told him that he would always follow him, even die for him. He responded to this friend: “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny me three times.” And, it happened exactly so. You see, he did not need to test anyone to know their faith.
Whenever this person encountered people afflicted by sicknesses or diseases, he immediately looked for ways to bring healing to them, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
During his life, he spent a lot of time with the poor and the marginalized in the society. Many came to him to find nourishment and consolation. He called out to them: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He even dared to offer his flesh and blood to them so they could live abundantly and eternally.
Finally, out of jealousy, fear and selfishness, the people in power created a political plot to arrest him and sentence him to death. He was wrongly accused. Some people suggested him to use violence set himself free and take revenge. He not only refused and overcome this last temptation but also prayed to God: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.”
My friend, he died but he has arisen. He is now living among us. I believe that he is the true answer about God because he has said: “The Father and I are one.”(John 10:30) Now, I know where God is and how God acts when something negative happens to me. Jesus is my true answer. And you, how do you think, my friend?
Peace be with you!
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.