Today’s readings remind me of the power of faith. Faith is a difficult concept to grasp. Each individual person probably has a slightly different definition of what faith means to him or her. To me, faith is somewhat synonymous of trust. I trust that God exists, that I have some sort of relationship with Him, and that He wants what is best for us. In the first reading we learn how the word of God was being spread through the disciples and their followers. Faith was a motivating factor for the dissemination of the Gospel. The Responsorial Psalm reminds us that God is kind, merciful, that He loves justice, and that He will conquer death. Only faith can liberate us from our earthly death. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is seen walking on water. Not surprisingly, the disciples were afraid, but Jesus reassured them that He was alive and with them. They could trust that He would always be with them, no matter what the obstacles may be.
My faith and trust in God has been tested these past few months. Today would have been my mother’s birthday. She passed away unexpectedly six month ago. She had not been sick nor was she very old. Her heart merely stopped beating while she was taking her daily nap. I suppose, we would all like to leave this world this way. However, that is not our choice. I am very grateful that she did not have to suffer, but at the same time, I was angry with God. How could it be time for her to leave? The whole family was planning on spending Christmas with her in Switzerland (where she lived). Two days prior to her death, we were talking about our future plans. God had a different plan. As I reflected on this last conversation, I was wondering whether I would have changed the last conversation I had with my mother? Were there any signs in her voice that would have indicated that she was not feeling well? Truthfully, I could not think of anything else I would have said differently, and there were no signs in her voice. However, what I would have done (had I been there) is hold her in my arms and record her voice for posterity. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Switzerland, her casket was closed and I could no longer touch her. This turned out to be much harder than I ever imagined.
I understand intellectually that we all have a limited time to live. We are all on borrowed time. I was now called to be thankful to have had her in my life, and to rejoice in her resurrection. This also turned out to be much more difficult. Although I can feel her presence in me, I find it difficult to reconcile our earthly life with the notion of “afterlife.” My relationship with God was also tested at some level. Why now?
Today’s responsorial psalm captures my prayer very well: “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.”