Sr Marilyn Lim, FDCC
In a world that has experienced this unprecedented Covid pandemic, where the greatest act of love is to stay distant from the very people we care deeply about, what would Jesus do? How would He show His unconditional love?
Jesus is often addressed in the Gospels as preacher, prophet and Divine Physician. By taking time to reflect on what these titles imply, maybe they can shed some light on how we can be like Jesus and respond better to the challenges and opportunities of this time.
To preach means to be a “herald”, to proclaim a message from the King. In this case, it is from God to humanity. Jesus revealed Himself as a bearer of the Truth to a world in need of hearing it. He pronounced it with authority (Lk4:44).
Jesus proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is close at hand” (Mk 1:5). It is the good news of a God who reaches out to us in love. In fact, Jesus is the greatest gift of God in person to those who would welcome Him. But are we ready?
Such good news calls for repentance, that we turn away from sin and turn to him.
Indeed, Jesus was the Master teacher respected by His disciples, the Pharisees and Sadducees and by everyone who turned to him for help and guidance (Mk 8:17).
With great devotion and love, Jesus taught in all kinds of places and situations – in the synagogues, the Temple, in the cities and villages, by the seaside, from a fishing boat, in the streets and in the inner circle of the disciples.
With patience and perseverance, Jesus revealed God’s love and wisdom to meet the problems of earth.
Mission to heal
Jesus was also the Divine Physician. He was ready to seek out the lost and the marginalised: tax collectors like Matthew and his friends. He would dine with them to the horror of the orthodox religious leaders.
But Jesus’ answer was: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mt 9:9-13). His mission was to heal the world of the disease of sin.”
In the story of Zacchaeus, Jesus invited himself to his house. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and was despised by the Jews. Again, Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10).
Zacchaeus was lost and on the wrong road, looking for happiness and success in life. With empathy and compassion, Jesus brought Zacchaeus home, to find lasting joy in God.
As we reflect on the past few months since the outbreak of Covid-19 when countries are locked down to prevent the spread of the deadly disease; our lives, relationships and communication modes have been challenged. We need to find new pathways and stay safe. With restricted movements, we have had time to pause and to ask ourselves some soul-searching questions – Where and how do we move from here? Our churches were forced to close, we have been deprived of the sacraments. What is God saying to us? What would Jesus do?
No doubt, our faith tells us that Jesus has come to save us from our waywardness and sin. But He also demands obedience. In the story of the wise and foolish builders, with whom do we identify? The one who chose to build his house on a strong foundation that can weather any storm or otherwise? (Mt 7:24-27)
Jesus also demands loyalty from his followers. “If anyone comes after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”.
I am aware that in a time of isolation and social distancing, I need to make a more conscious effort to communicate with persons who need an encouraging word, an affirmation, a message of hope both in my community as well as in my ministry. I am reminded daily to exercise patience, goodness, understanding and care with those whom I interact with either in person or through social media.
Is God the centre of our life? Jesus has come to show us the way back to God, a God who loves us and invites us to relate to him with childlike confidence. In Jesus, we have the model par excellence of our loving and forgiving God.
On the cross, Jesus has reconciled us to the Father. As we struggle through these challenging times, let us turn our eyes upon Jesus as He invites us to a life lived from within – from the heart; not running after earthly ambition, material wealth and power. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart”.
May we find hope and inner peace as we continue our journey with our fellow brothers and sisters, our families, friends and colleagues; mindful that like Jesus, we are also called to be preachers, prophets and healers in our disoriented world today.
We entrust our journey of the future to Mother Mary who has protected and guided Jesus as He embraced His mission of revealing the Father’s love to the people of His time.
Jesus continues the same mission through us today by our loving and caring for the poor and vulnerable of our time who are searching for direction and meaning through the current situation! May we never lose sight of Jesus and instead keep Him closer to our hearts as we devote June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.