- John 3:31-36
- The One from Heaven
One time I visited a friend of mine, a religious sister, in their convent. Upon entering their convent I saw in their door this poster pasted on it that says: “To all our visitors, there are only two rules in this house: There is a God, and you are not Him.” I really encoded these two rules in my cellular phone and kept it for future reference during my talks and homilies.
Today’s gospel passage presents to us that Jesus is the Savior coming from the Father (from ‘above’) who talks and testifies about heavenly things based on what he had seen, heard, done and witnessed. 365 Days with the Lord 2008 commented that God the Father has given Him everything and some of them are: judgment (John 5:22), life (John 5:26), the power to give life (John 17:2), His followers (17:6), what He says (John 17:8), the divine name (John 17:11ff) and glory (John 17:11). But in v. 36 of this gospel passage Jesus ends His discourse with Nicodimus with these words: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life but the wrath of God remains upon Him.” In other words, Jesus is talking to us about obedience to God by which St. Peter testified too in our first reading. St. Peter says: “We must obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29).
But our faith teaches us to obey all legitimate authority, like the government of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2004-2010) and all elected officials because, in the words of St. Paul, “all authority comes from God.” Hence a Christian, according to a priest in his homily, will tend to be a model law-abiding citizen. But if an authority goes against the law of God, if it promotes evil and injustice, graft and corruption, then it ceases to be legitimate. It may sometimes be necessary for a Christian to defy authority in order to be faithful to his conscience. This was what many martyrs did. And this is what every Christian should be ready to do.
And Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD in his book, Just a Moment (January 10), says that Jesus reminds us that there is God and we His creatures are supposed to obey and follow Him. A lot of our problems and miseries, Fr. Orbos continues, happen whenever we play God and refuse to obey and follow Him. Take a look at your life, miserable and empty? Maybe it is because you had forgotten the most basic truth in this life that there is a God and you are not Him.
Etymologically, obedience is coming from two Latin words, ob which means ‘near’ and audio which means ‘hear’ or the Latin word obêdire which means ‘to hearken to,’ hence ‘to obey.’ Obedience, according to the New Catholic Dictionary, is submission to the will or law of one who exercises authority; to the Will or law of God, to the laws of the Church; to a lawfully constitutes superior, civil or religious. With poverty and chastity it is one of the chief counsels of Christ. It may be practiced by persons living outside a religious community in regard to spiritual directors. Usually it is the subject of a vow in a religious congregation. It implies exterior performance of a command and, as far as possible, interior also.
At the end let us listen to this reflection entitled It’s Not Always Easy by Glenda Fulton Davis: It’s not always easy to smile and be nice when we are called to sacrifice.
It’s not always easy to put others first especially when tired and feeling our worst.
It’s not always easy to do the Father’s will. It wasn’t so easy to climb Calvary’s hill.
But we, as His children should learn to obey; not seeking our own but seeking His way.
It’s not always easy to fight the good fight. But it is always good and it is always right!