[COLUMN] This is a test!

TO prepare our local community for any emergency, we would hear an alarming sound from the radio, television, and our phones. Oftentimes, nothing disastrous has happened; it is only a test. “This is a test,” an official would inform us.

It is good to be tested because it allows us to see if we are ready to deal with an impending disaster. This is true when it comes to our faith. Is our faith strong enough to face any suffering such as sickness or old age? Are we as steadfast in faith as we believe ourselves to be? Can we surrender ourselves to God’s will or abandon ourselves to the love and mercy of God? Whenever we pray the Our Father, saying, “Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come,” do we truly mean it? Do we fully trust in God?

In this Sunday’s (February 25) First Reading, God tested Abraham by asking him to take his only son, Isaac, to the land of Moriah to offer him as a holocaust. Without any complaint or question, Abraham obeyed. We might wonder, “How could he sacrifice his only son—the descendant that God promised him, the one who would pave the way for more descendants as God had foretold? Why would God take away his      long-awaited son?”

Upon further reflection, God’s summons was merely a test for Abraham. God wanted to gauge how much he trusted Him and the strength of his belief in the God of Israel. By Abraham’s obedience, God witnessed his faith and, in turn, fulfilled His promise to provide Abraham with more descendants. Therefore, it is no surprise that     Abraham is known as the Father of Faith.

The words of the Second Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans exemplify the kind of faith that  Abraham demonstrated for us. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all—how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?”

Those who place their complete trust in God, surrender to His ways, are obedient to His commands are promised peace, hope, joy, prosperity, and eternal life with God. This promise was revealed by Jesus to Peter, James, and John during His transfiguration before them, appearing alongside two important Old Testament figures of faith: Elijah and Moses. Jesus granted them a glimpse of the life that awaits those who faithfully follow His Father’s will. However, the path to this life is narrow—believers must undergo suffering and self-denial, much like Jesus did on the Cross, offering their lives as sacrifices to God through their service to Him and to their fellow men and women.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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