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Feeling troubled?

Not too long ago a senior lady executive in Makati made news when she lept out from her high-rise office building instantly killing herself. A suicide note was found on her table which read: “I couldn’t bear it anymore. I’m tired of my sickness (lingering cancer) and taking care of my aged mother.”

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Perhaps she had other problems but her state of depression simply overwhelmed her.

That lady’s experience and similar tragedies all dramatize that life can sometimes be cruel and harsh. There are mysteries we cannot answer, problems we cannot solve, situations that are disagreeable.

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Despite all this, Christ exhorts us that we must never lose faith. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” Jesus tells his disciples in this 5th Sunday’s gospel. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust in Me” (Jn 14,1).

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The Lord uttered these words at the Last Supper, the eve of his darkest hour. And yet, despite knowing that the worst is about to occur, Jesus calmly declared: “Don’t worry. Trust in God, trust in Me.”

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Christ’s words are very consoling and reassuring. But for many of us humans, they don’t strike us as reassuring. We may even dismiss them as unrealistic. How can Jesus assure me not to worry when my creditors are running and I don’t know where to get money fast? Or when I have this life-threatening sickness? Or, when I’m being retrenched from my floundering company?

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There’s the story of a woman named Delia. She experienced a very unstable and unhappy childhood. The turning point in her life came when she married David, a fine young man in every aspect.

In the marriage, Delia found stability and the joy she had been denied during her growing-up years. Then came the first child and with the birth, the discovery that Delia had multiple sclerosis (hardening of the arteries)!

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Delia and David could not comprehend why. But they trust God and did much to enrich the lives of people around them. Not long before she died, Delia, still only in her mid-thirties, was talking to a close friend who marveled at her tremendous trust in God’s goodness.

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“Don’t you ever have any doubts?” the friend asked. “No,” Delia good-naturedly replied, “because I know that God will never abandon me. Although Delia died, she was at peace with God.

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FAITH NOT ESCAPISM. Faith should not be fatalistic or make us escape from doing our own responsibility. If you can solve your problems or lighten the heavy burden, then by all means do it. But when the situations are beyond remedy, then you just have to accept with patience and offer your pains to God.

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But even if the worst thing may happen to us, never lose hope as in the story of Delia…or despair like that of the lady executive.

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The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr beautifully puts it thus: “God, grant me the COURAGE to change the things I can change, the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, and the WISDOM to know the difference between both.”

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A man approaches a priest and asks: “Please bless me, Father, coz my son is a drug addict, my daughter an unwed mother, my wife a gambler.

Priest: Wala bang positive sa buhay mo? Man: Me, Father…HIV positive!(Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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