Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Trust has consequences and trust issues have become more prominent in the 21st century. Passwords, alarms, fingerprint locks, face recognition devices and other security gadgets are common because of trust issues. It is becoming increasingly risky to trust human beings. Even though there are a lot of genuine people with beautiful hearts, people are very calculated in matters of trust. Our first reading for today therefore offers us an opportunity to think deeply and to reflect on whom we can totally rely on in life.
We tend to trust people who are benevolent toward us, people who have integrity, relations and friends who are predictable, reliable, honest and those whose actions correspond to what they say. Since consistency sustains credibility, we normally trust someone we can count on to consistently do what is “right.” We must ask ourselves, in whom, and in what have I put my trust? Placing our trust in God is the best approach to life. There are reasons why sacred scripture admonishes us not to put our trust in human beings. And there are beautiful reasons why we are always encouraged to put our trust in God alone. The God who created us knows us so well, he knows that we can easily let others down, he knows that we can easily disappoint those we love most, and for these, he warns us not to put our trust in human beings.
One major reason is the limitation of man. No matter how much you love someone, you cannot prevent him or her from old age. Even the most powerful of men are limited in what they can do. Unlike God, they do not have sovereign control over people, nations, nature, or time. Their limitations make them inconsistent, unable to help when it is needed most. In life we come across many people who are adorably sincere and generous with their resources, transparent in their dealings and consistently supportive.
However, in spite of all these shining virtues they remain human and limited in their capacity to love. Sometimes we are prepared to donate a blood to a dying friend or a relative, but we are unable because our blood group is different. We do not choose our blood groups and we cannot change them. Even those who qualify to donate, can only give “some” of their blood and not “all” of their blood. Jesus Christ is the only one who gave up all his blood for the sake of humanity. Even those who share the same blood group with you cannot give you all their blood. Human beings, compared to God, are fundamentally limited, and even the most well-intentioned will fail us. While people must be trusted from time to time in everyday life, in the most important matters, however, we cannot afford to lean on the broken crutch of human beings.
To place one’s trust in God, the Eternal Being who knows all our history and who holds our future in his hands is a great source of blessing and interior joy. Hence, the Psalmist reminds us:
“Those who trust in the Lord are like mount Zion that can never be shaken” (Ps 125:1).
It also helps to be reminded that in every relationship, there is some underlying self-interest. The reality of life is that there is no friendship without some self-interest which could be manifest or otherwise. Unlike computers and automated machines, human beings have self-interests that sometimes align with our own and at other times do not. It is only God who does not have any self-interest in relating to humanity. His only interest is to do what is best for us and his promises are sacred. Our best friends also have their own best friends, and our loved one also have their loved ones as well. We should therefore strive to be more measured and honest in our interactions. Living with integrity, according to our values and principles makes us persons worthy of trust. Nothing in this world should rob us of our peace of mind and interior joy, if our trust is in the crucified and the risen Christ, the Savior and hope of the world.
In the second reading, Paul makes the point that our hope must not be totally placed on this world or on our efforts alone, but on Christ who through his resurrection has strengthened our hope of eternity. Paul tells us: “If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most pitiable people of all.” In other words, life does not end here. Blessedness is necessary. Blessed is the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.
Hear again the words of Jeremiah, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out 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.”
What nourishes our life? Is it the sand or the stream? Lent is around the corner. It is a good time for all of us to sink our roots into the deep, clear waters of God’s life again!