“The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?’” (John 10:31-32)
To those who picked up stones to throw at Jesus, he said: “for which of my many good works are you stoning me?” Such is life. The same people who happily flocked around Jesus, witnessed and received several miracles, had their fill of bread and fish, enjoyed Jesus’ life-changing homilies, etc., turned around to stone Jesus.
It was as though they suddenly forgot all the good Jesus did for them. Those who received the miracles could not read between the lines, they could not see that only God could work such great signs and wonders. They would eventually join in shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” for claiming to be God.
Just as Jesus suffered in the hands of his persecutors, there are moments we find ourselves suffering in the hands of the very persons who have been beneficiaries of our help in times past. The question is, what is the best way to respond under such circumstances? When the same people who fed from you pick up stones against you, what do you do?
Both Jeremiah and Jesus were provoked in our readings today and we have a lot to learn from their reaction. Jeremiah prayed a prayer of surrender. He asks God to fight on his behalf: “O Lord of hosts, who test the righteous, who see the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them for to you have I committed my cause.” (Jeremiah 20:12).
Jeremiah goes on to sing despite the pains in his heart: “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.” (Jeremiah 20:13) The singing of Jeremiah reminds me of Paul and Silas who had the faith to sing praises to God rather than complain while in prison. In moments of adversity, learn to sing praises to God, surrender your adversaries to God, and trust that God can handle the situation perfectly.
Jesus had the power to call down fire to burn down those who were exchanging words with Him but he “escaped from their hands and went away across the Jordan.” Jesus did not use the power he had to fight against his enemies. In moments of adversity, do not resort to the abuse of whatever power you hold. Jesus told us to pray for the conversion rather than the death of our enemies.
If God allows you to experience such difficult times, know that it is because God knows that something good can come out of it. We learn more in moments of adversity. We discover our true friends and we get to tap into our true inner strength. Adversity toughens and shapes us into God’s plans for us. Cherish your moment of adversity; know that there can be no crown if there wasn’t first a cross.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, in my anguish I call to you, save me lest I perish. Amen.
Bible Study: Jer. 20:10-13, Ps. 18:2-7, John 10:31-42).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu