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(Part 4)


In the aftermath of Ondoy, the nation is in collective mourning for the disaster that has befallen it. Many have lost possessions, even their homes, and have inadequate resources with which to rebuild their lives. Mired in the problems of the present, many wonder what the future holds.

As usual, it is not all bleak. There is a silver lining in every cloud. We have witnessed how the nation has also responded to help those afflicted. Here already is one blessing. The disaster has been a great opportunity to bring out the best in the hearts of concerned citizens. People have opened their hearts and their wallets to give. People have set aside their other concerns and priorities to help those in need.

The challenges are great. How to rebuild lives. How to prevent similar disasters. How to take care of the poor among us.

Much reflection will happen, and that is good. We are often so caught up in the swirling world around us that we fail to consider what is really important in life.

The most important, of course, is to be mindful of God and to live our lives in and for Him. God is in control of nature's forces. God has a wonderful plan for our lives and we just need to know such plan and align our lives with it. Suffering brings purification and helps align us with God's plan. We need to see what God is doing, even as we are unable to grasp the grandeur and majesty of His divine actions.

In today's reading, we look to the consolation Jerusalem extended to her afflicted children. "My children, bear patiently the anger that has come from God upon you; Fear not, my children; call out to God! He who brought this upon you will remember you. As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him; for he who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy." (Baruch 4:25a,27-29).

God is angry at us? Yes, for all our infidelities. For our unconcern for our fellow men, especially the least among us. For our degradation of the environment. "The flood shall sweep away his house with the waters that run off in the day of God's anger." (Job 20:28). But God is merciful. Even His chastisement is proof of His love and mercy, for it is intended to turn us away from greater disaster and bring us back to Him. So we bear our affliction patiently. God is forming us, and it takes some time to do that. In the meantime, we need not fear, because our lives and well-being are in His hands, and we are His beloved children whom He loves. In the meantime, we pray. We call out to God. We focus our minds and our hearts and our whole being on Him. We examine our lives. We repent of sin. We resolve to do better. We patiently wait for His deliverance. "Be still before the Lord; wait for God." (Psalm 37:7a).

God is our savior. Jesus already saved us through the cross. The Father continues to bring that salvation to us, through the crosses that come into our lives. We rejoiced in our salvation by the sacrificial suffering and death of our Lord Jesus. We continue to rejoice even in our grief over our Ondoy disaster, for our affliction brings us even closer to God. We look over the havoc wreaked by the flood, but in the dark ugliness of the muck and the mire, we see the radiance of God, who is our salvation. "The Lord sits enthroned above the flood! The Lord reigns as king forever!" (Psalm 29:10).

"Then the Lord addressed Job out of the storm ...." (Job 38:1). With every affliction there are lessons to be learned. I pray that we will all have the time to listen.

God bless and protect you all.


(October 03, 2009)

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

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