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Do you trust anyone completely?
Two botanists went to the Appalachian mountains in search of rare and exotic flowers. As they walked along a ridge, they beheld such flowers about thirty feet below them. Unable to get these specimens themselves, they encountered an 11-year-old boy walking along the ridge. They told him they would give him $200 if he would agree to let them put him down on a rope to pick the flowers. The boy thought a moment and said, “Wait a moment, and I will be right back.” He came back with an older man. “All right, I’ll do it,” he said, “if you let him hold the rope. He’s my dad.” Today’s Scripture Readings teach us that, like the young boy in this story, there is always one Person whom we can always rely on and trust. And that is God the Father.
Jeremiah was a tragic prophet who suffered greatly at the hands of his fellow countrymen and the leaders of his people. Till the day he died, Jeremiah suffered rejection and persecution, and so God has him say in today’s 1st Reading, ”Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” But, “blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, he is like a tree near flowing water whose leaves stay green”. The symbol for the virtue of hope is the anchor. Jeremiah preached that the only sure anchor for enduring the sufferings of the Exile they is God Himself. God will never fail but will ultimately deliver us through death and destruction.
Jesus, echoing the sentiments of Jeremiah, is of course our model for complete trust in the Father’s love. On Good Friday Jesus experiences the darkest night of His soul. He is in such agony and distress that the evangelist Luke says His sweat became drops of blood. Yet, the Father who proclaimed His Beloved Son at His Baptism and who told the Apostles to listen to Him at the Transfiguration, says nothing to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Nor does He then respond to Jesus’ tormented, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me”. Nonetheless, instead of coming down from the Cross and running away, Jesus stays and commends His Spirit into the hands of the Father.
Thus, even through death, Jesus knows that the Father always delivers the One He loves. St. Paul, in the 2nd Reading proclaims the Father’s response to Jesus, not on Good Friday, but three days later. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Like Jeremiah’s tree planted near living water, Jesus’ total reliance on the Father bears fruit in the glory of the Resurrection. For St. Paul, this is the greatest reason for us to believe in Jesus. If Jesus is not raised from the dead, everything He said and promised is not to be trusted. We are left to die in our sins. But, because He is raised from the dead, our reason for believing in Him is absolutely confirmed.
Because of His Resurrection, Christians can confidently follow Jesus’ example and lead a life of Beatitude. For, the Beatitudes of today’s Gospel are the way of life Jesus accepts for Himself and offers us and all who would be His disciples. The basis of all happiness on earth is to always trust that God, as He did with His Son Jesus, will ultimately deliver us through the trials and tribulations of life—poverty, hunger, sorrow, rejection, and even death itself. But for those who look for consolation and approval from what the world has to offer will encounter constant sorrow. The blessings of eternal happiness and life come, as they did for Jesus, to those who trust that the ‘Father will, no matter what, deliver them from all evil.’