Second Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2017
It is very easy to be a person of faith when all goes well. But when a crisis tears at our hearts, as when a young spouse dies, or a child dies, or a marriage is evidently on the rocks, then very often we feel our faith weakens, we enter into a period of anger at God and a time of doubt. This does not mean that we have lost our faith. It simply means that we are being called to a deeper faith, deeper trust in God. As Christians, we often pray: “God, please keep our daughter and family safe driving home in the snow storm. God, please save our marriage. God, please give my husband a successful bypass heart surgery.” If our prayers were answered, we feel that we have seen the Lord. But how is our faith when our prayers were not answered? Doubting is part of being human. A person who does not react with anger at the time of a tragedy might be a saint, but most likely is a person who really never had a high quality of love. The person who recognizes that God was certainly there even at the time of anger is a person whose faith has grown. We should not feel bad about having crises in faith. We should realize that our crisis can lead us to an even stronger faith. Challenges often strengthen us.
We watched a Chinese movie “The Miracle Box” lately. It is a tender love story, with faith and inspiration. Joanna wanted to become a physician. She finally passed all the exams with flying colours and became one. After she met Albert, a bone marrow cancer survivor and fellow doctor, her life changed. They married. But Albert’s cancer returned. He encouraged Joanna to carry on. He believed God placed her on earth for a reason and would eventually reveal his plans. Albert died. Joanna questioned where God was. In time, after the initial shock and grief, her faith returned. Joanna took up Albert’s mantle and became a brilliant doctor. During the dark days of early 2003 while dealing with hundreds of the SARS-inflicted people in Hong Kong, she volunteered at the front-line and did as in her whole life with chin up, thumbs up, and with a faith that God will sort things out. In the end, Dr. Joanna Tse died from the disease trying to save the lives of her patients, sacrificing her own.
Coming May 3 will be the anniversary of the mass evacuation of the whole city due to the wildfires, The Beast. I am sure during that crisis, we all prayed for the safe of the city and our home. There maybe doubt at times but we all have faith in God. He did answered our prayers via the firefighters who risk their own lives to fight the Beast, even watching their own houses burnt down while saving the neighbours’. I convince that the Risen Lord was with them, to strengthen their faith for the new challenges every day. Yes, some of us did lose our home, our jobs. But we are all supported by the community, the charitable organizations. The crisis makes the community resilient and strong. We pray today that we might all have a mature faith, able to grow through crises. We pray today that we might all be included in that phrase of the Lord’s, “Blessed are those who have not seen but. believe.” (John 20:29b)
The FRIENDS OF THE FORT McMURRAY FIREFIGHTERS CHARITIES ASSOCIATION just had their annual fund raising event “100 hours Rooftop Camp out”. Five firefighters sacrificed their comfort and rest time to raise fund not for their own vacations or partying but to support local charitable organizations which in term help and support the community especially victims of the wildfires: Boys and Girls Club, Waypoints the Family Crisis Society, Centre of Hope, Food Bank, and SPCA. When the Lord answers our prayers, we thank Him wholeheartedly and in turn follow His examples to help others. Fr. Reddy and a group of parishioners did visit the Firehall to thank the self- sacrifice firefighters after we returned, but it maybe a good opportunity for us now to thank them to show our faith in them not just by words but by deed, to thank them by donating to support their good cause.
Today is also the Divine Mercy Sunday, the octave day of the Feast of Easter. In the Jubilee Year 2000, Saint Pope John Paul II established this new feast indicating that he had fulfilled the will of Christ. He believed that our Church needed to re-emphasize the tremendous gift of Divine Mercy that the Lord wants to pour out on each and every one of us. And what is Divine Mercy? Simply put, Divine Mercy is “God refraining from harming or punishing offenders”, and that’s all of us. We must do likewise. So this Feast of Divine Mercy is our annual preparation for the Judgment, an annual feast to get perfectly right with God. Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I adore you, Jesus I love you, Jesus I follow you. (my motto)
-Deacon Raymond Chan