Sunday, July 8, 2018

Anak, ba't ka nagkaganyan?

JULY 8, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you.

The Selfie of God
“Rebels who rebelled against me,” so did God speak about the Israelites when he sent the prophet Ezekiel to them. From the beginning, the Lord never kept the difficulty of the challenge a secret to the prophet: “Hard of face and obstinate of heart (matigas ang ulo at walang pitagan) are they to whom I am sending you.” Even Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. They always have a reason to refuse to believe in what the prophet has to say. Instead of listening intently to the Word of God, they are on the look-out for some flaw in argument or in the person of the prophet. In the case of Jesus, they complained: Is he not the carpenter, the Son of Mary? They could not find fault in what the Lord said: What kind of wisdom has been given him? They could not deny the greatness of his work: What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! They could not even find fault in his person so that they found fault in the fact that they knew his family and his origins. They simply had to find fault in something in order to justify their unbelief. (The president who called God “stupid” is now asking for a selfie as proof that God exists.) There can only be one reason for their unbelief and that would be their hardness of face and obstinacy of heart. Knowing the number and gravity of their sins, they would rather choose not to believe than choose to repent and change their ways. (Even if we produce that selfie, still he will not believe.) “For the believer, no proof is necessary. For the unbeliever, no proof will be sufficient.” So said St. Thomas Aquinas.

If this were so, then why does God still insist on sending prophets to a rebellious house? If Jesus knew that no prophet is accepted in his own native place, then why did he still insist to go there? The stubbornness of God’s love can be the only answer. The stubbornness of God’s love is his response to the stubbornness of the human heart. While God’s love remains constant, man’s obstinacy of heart may change. That is why again and again he sends prophets to that rebellious house. “Whether they heed or resist – for they are a rebellious house – they shall know that a prophet has been among them.” (Sa making sila o hindi – dahil matigas nga ang kanilang ulo – malalaman nilang may isang propeta sa gitna nila.)

Hindi siya nagkulang ng paalala. Isn’t this so typical of a loving father? The parent does not tire of advising his children because he wants to keep them from danger. But if his child is obstinate, no amount of parental advice can protect him from danger. Whatever happens to him is not the fault of his parents but it is the result of his own doing. I remember Freddie Aguilar’s song. He sang of how parents love their child so much: “Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo.” But in spite of such love and care, the child goes wayward: “Nagdaan pa ang mga araw at ang landas mo’y naligaw. Ikaw ay nalulong sa masamang bisyo.” And the parents could do nothing but ask: “Anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan?”

God keeps sending prophets because he does not tire of warning his children of the dire consequences of their wayward ways. Remember the Book of Wisdom from last Sunday’s Mass? The Word of God said: “God does not rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Therefore, let us heed the prophets whom God sends us. Let us not detest what they say.  If ever we discover that our lives are not in accordance to the ways of the Lord, let us not hesitate to repent and change our ways. Instead of calling God “stupid,” let us abandon our own stupidity. Let us not wait for God to ask us, “Anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan.” “For out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours, he humbled himself…by the passion of the Cross, he freed us from unending death, and by rising from the dead, he gave us eternal life.” Let us not be obstinate of heart. If today, you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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