Christian confidence amid mysteries

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE are now days before Christmas. Our longing for the birth of Christ is heightened, thanks to our tradition of the Simbang Gabi that up to now enjoys vast popularity especially among the simple people who are gifted with a lot of faith. Let’s hope that this tradition continues “sine fine” or “in aeternum.”

In the readings of December 18, we are told about a branch of David that will be raised up, a king who is wise and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. (cfr. Jer 23,5-8) This is, of course, referring to Christ himself. We should feel the excitement of his coming.

Thus, in the responsorial psalm, we are made to declare with joy, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.” (Ps 72,7) Obviously, that’s what Christ would accomplish, although his kind of justice and peace may not coincide with our own ideas of them.

The gospel of the day talks about Joseph who thought at first to divorce from Mary when he found her with child in her womb even before they lived together. But a special divine intervention was made to clarify the matter to him. And he immediately changed his mind and followed what God had wanted him to do and to be. (cfr. Mt 1,18-25)

All these readings somehow tell us that we have every reason to be confident and happy even amid some mysteries and unpleasant circumstances, as long as we stick to God in his will and in his ways. This trust in God should always be nourished by us.

We need to realize that our life always has more to offer to us than what we can understand, let alone, cope. In the face of all this, I believe the attitude to have and the reaction to make is to be calm, pray hard, and while we do all we can, we have to learn to live a certain sense of abandonment in the hands of God.

In this life, we need to develop a sportsman’s attitude, since life is like a game. Yes, life is like a game, because we set out to pursue a goal, we have to follow certain rules, we are given some means, tools and instruments, we train and are primed to win and do our best, but defeats can always come, and yet, we just have to move on.

It would be unsportsmanlike if we allow ourselves to get stuck with our defeats and failures, developing a loser’s mentality. That would be the epic fail that puts a period and a finis in an ongoing narrative, when a comma, a colon or a semi-colon would have sufficed.

We need a sporting spirit because life’s true failure can come only when we choose not to have hope. That happens when our vision and understanding of things is narrow and limited, confined only to the here and now and ignorant of the transcendent reality of the spiritual and supernatural world.

This should be the attitude to have. It’s an attitude that can only indicate our unconditional faith and love for God who is always in control of things, and at the same time can also leave us in peace and joy even at the worst of the possibilities.

We have to follow the example of the many characters in the gospel who, feeling helpless in the many predicaments they were in, earnestly rushed to Christ for some succor. They went to him unafraid and unashamed and they got what they wanted.