April 6, 2015

The Gospel Today

Monday in the Octave of Easter

Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

Reflection (Sem. Dondon O. Dimaano Jr.):

Happy Easter! In the Gospel account that we read today, we heard Jesus greeting Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: “Do not be afraid!” Such was the Lord’s first words after His resurrection. These consoling words from Him should cause us assurance and enough joy.

Fear is an emotion that is difficult to bear. It comes from uncertainty, or from an incident that might frighten us. But for those who believe in Jesus, there must be enough confidence in their hearts. Why? He has attained victory over death and if He has won over it, we must trust that there is nothing that we should be afraid of.

There are times in the seminary wherein difficulties in terms of formation, family problems, personal issues or relationships would come. At times, they seem to affect me internally, there would be restlessness and fear. Questions like: “What if this happens?” or “How could this be?” or “Why now?” would come into play. But in these moments, God would invite me to just place all my trust in His merciful love. There are times when, after praying, I would listen to this wonderful song, “Be Not Afraid”. The words are from the Book of the prophet Isaiah saying: “Be not afraid, I have made you, I have called you. You are mine, you are precious to me and I love you. Be not afraid.” One’s heart must be made of steel if he would not be touched by that.

Last Thursday, during my Confession, the priest gave me what I thought to be one of the easiest penances. He told me: “Tell the Lord, three times: Jesus, I trust in You”. I would have wanted to ask him: “Talaga po? Yun lang?”. But I did as I was told. While fulfilling it, the first “I trust in You” was easy. But I knew in my heart that it was not what the confessor meant. He wanted me not to trust with my words, but he requires me to a self-abandonment to the will of the Father. Suddenly, the second and third “I trust in You’s” were marked with tears and a tension in my heart. I have always prayed the Three O’clock Prayer that ends with those words, but this time, those words invited me to be obedient to His will and to rest in His love.

Perfect love drives out fears, as St. Paul exhorted. The Risen Lord is inviting me to just trust and love Him—a love that requires obedience and commitment. If I truly love, I must bear all things; my response of love must stand the test of time but it must not demand but rather, succumbs to the greater will of God. God is Himself Love, the greatest Lover of All for even in my imperfections, He loves me just the same, for to Him, the perfection of His love is to bear my imperfections.

Why must I be afraid? Amen.

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