2nd Sunday of Lent
He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.
I had once thought the apostles had been in an extremely fortunate position because they had actually gotten to know Jesus and accompanied Him throughout His all-too-short three years of ministry. What an experience it would have been to actually chat and eat with Jesus, learn from Him and see Him healing all who came to Him!
But passages like today’s Gospel made me realise that the apostles were actually quite confused and misguided about who Jesus really was and what He had come to do. Despite their willingness to follow Jesus and closeness to Him, they imposed their own expectations of what a Saviour should do onto Him, struggled to understand His teachings and signs, accused Him of not caring about them, and eventually denied and deserted Him – just like how we relate to Jesus today as we try to follow Him amid our daily ups and downs.
Yet Jesus did not give up on His disciples and was always patient with them. The disciples did not really give up on Jesus and themselves either; after going through the terrifying experience of the Transfiguration, they held on to what they had experienced and discussed among themselves what it meant. Eventually with the grace of the Holy Spirit, they became the great ‘fishers of men’ which Jesus had called them to be.
Someone once told me that God calls us in our inadequacy, and that Jesus chose His apostles because He wanted to. As I reflect on today’s reading, I am reminded that God chose us because He wanted to as well, and that He is just as patient with us as He was with the apostles. Even though there are times He does not seem to be present, even though there are times He acts (or apparently does not) in ways I cannot understand, I can try to hold on to the experiences, reflect on them and pray for the grace to trust in Him even when I may never know the full meaning of them. It requires an act of will separate from emotion which is not at all easy to do, but at least I know the disciples have been there too.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Jaclyn Lam)
Prayer: Lord, help us to remember that you have chosen us as your disciples. By your grace and mercy, keep us steadfast in our faith and grant us the willingness and ability to discern how you are speaking to us in the situations we encounter.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for your infinite patience with us. Help us to be more patient with ourselves and with those around us as we strive to return to you this Lent.