February 16-17, 2019
Are you a person of Blessings or Woe?
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Many years ago, I was assigned to hospice ministry while in Seminary. One of the hospice patients assigned was a Mother of three children ranging in age from 12 to 6 years old. The Mother had been living with cancer for 6 years and she had been told she only had a short time to live. I was brought in to help the children to talk about their Mother’ illness and to help support the Mother as she explained to her children she was going to die.
In one of my conversations with the Mother, we talked about how her time was coming to an end. We were having this conversation while her 6yearold daughter laid on the bed with her. The Mother was weak and could not lift herself off the bed, but with all the energy she could muster, she held her youngest daughter in her arms. We were talking about her concern for her children and having to leave them. I asked her if she was angry about not being healed. Her answer blew me away. She said, I have received my miracle, I have had 6 years longer than I was supposed to have. She went on to tell me how she was diagnosed soon after she gave birth to her youngest daughter and that her prayer was to have long enough with her children so that they would remember her. This remarkable woman had every reason to be filled with woe, but instead she shared her blessings with all who came her way.
This woman had every reason to not trust in God, but rather she placed all her trust in God. The prophet Jerimiah tells us in today’ first reading, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears
fruit.” (Jer.17:58) Her blessing was that she could still trust in the Lord even though she knew that she was not going to be healed, nor see her children grow up.
What enables a person to see blessings rather than woe? The person who knows Jesus, knows what he preached and what he lived is able to trust in God and does not have to settle to trust in human precepts. “Thus, says the Lord, cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh.” (Jer. 17:58) As people of Faith we are called to
know the Jesus of history, so that we can come to better know the Jesus of Faith.
Who is the Jesus of Faith? The Jesus of Faith is the one who preached the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:1720) within human history. Jesus’ preaching announces the closeness of
God. “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.” (Luke 6:1720) Our Lord is always close to us, but we have the choice whether we are going to allow the Lord to be close. The woes enter into our lives when we place our trust in human precepts, such as material goods and riches and do not allow the Lord to be close to us. Woe to us who do not let the Lord into our lives. Woe to those who have had Christ preached as raised from the dead and still can not trust and believe. (1Cor.15:12) Our woe comes from not trusting, that Mother trusted in the Jesus who was raised from the dead and because she trusted she was blessed.
Yours in Christ,