Relieve me Not O Lord

Who would not want an easy and comfortable life? Who would not like to face each day worry-free or hassle-free? Who would not want to live a long and happy life?

As humans, we long for these and try our very best to achieve them. But the recent pandemic has shaken our core foundations and led us to re-examine our way of life, our priorities, and even our aspirations. It allowed us to re-evaluate our life and how we respond to crises, especially the major ones.

Crisis moments reveal our hearts. It shows us who we really are. When we go through a crisis, surely, something will be born out of us – it may be a good fruit or a stale one, depending on how we have navigated through it.

The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise. Talk about crises and this health crisis is usually the first one to get into our minds. But we must remember that even before COVID-19 struck, we were already facing our very own crises. They may not always be visible because some of these are battles we fight within our very selves.

When I was younger in formation, I usually asked the Lord to grant me an easy and a smooth journey in the seminary. But as I matured, my prayers turned from “relieve me from my burden Lord” into “relieve me NOT of my yoke, O Lord, but carry the load with me.” Through the years, I realized God did not promise His disciples that they will not suffer. Instead, he prepared their hearts to endure the hardships that they will face as they follow His footsteps. He assured them that He will be with them “until the end of time.”

As a formand, I learned that crises are part of our vocation journey, and these are part of one’s paschal journey as well. When we face crises and impasses, we are led to the place of death, to our own Calvary. But this death is a necessary death wherein, after experiencing it, in a seemingly “dark night”, we would be able to resurrect from it, gain new life, transcend it, and receive the blessing or the “spirit” of that experience.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, may we be reminded by how our Lord Jesus Christ endured the lashes, mocking, and the pain of crucifixion in order to show us how much He loves us, and how obedient he is to the will of the Father. May we, as Christians, be blessed with the courage to follow his footsteps in our daily lives and lovingly embrace our own crosses knowing that the Lord carries these with us.

By: Sem. John Paul Toting

Today’s Gospel

Jn 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

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