“Your word, O Lord, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens. Through all generations your Truth endures.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
I want to share with you at this time some thoughts that have inspired me.
The first of these are in reference to general concepts in the Word of God or the Gospel. I believe that in today’s realities, in today’s circumstances of life, these are most relevant to the needs and challenges we are facing as they relate to the essence of each person’s life.
The questions we are presented today in the face of these challenges are ones that should be the foundation for every Christian, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is not because in times of suffering, the suffering that we are experiencing now, that not everyone can answer the question: “Why does it happen that innocent people suffer?” We may simply find ourselves less hopeful in such situations.
In times of suffering, what Jesus Christ proposes remains valid and is relevant. Jesus says: “Take my yoke …. and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light,” writes Matthew the Evangelist in Chapter 11:29-30.
If so, then the question is: How can this yoke be carried and remain light? How can one bear the cross of problems, suffering, fears, anxieties, emotions and not lose hope? What’s more, how can we be sharing hope and love with others? It is possible when we focus on how Jesus Christ carried the cross and how he answered the question of human suffering.
The word “gospel” itself is what we are now going to consider in exploring these questions. I am convinced that many of you know that from the Greek original form, the word “gospel” sounds like or translates to “Good News”, but we will deepen our knowledge of this word “gospel”.
In the history of the Roman Empire, the term “gospel” was widely used in relation to the person of the emperor, who the people considered divine. Because this was the belief that was held, everything related to or associated with the emperor was also attributed as sacred. The thinking in the time of the Roman Empire was that the emperor expressed the will of the gods the people believed in. Therefore, all that he proclaimed was gospel, good news for the people.
Interestingly, this gospel not only applied to the emperor, but everything that was deemed pleasant for the people; but in reality, some things proclaimed were not so pleasant. For example, information that required tax increases probably did not please people, but even that was also called a gospel. Another example would be when a son was born to an emperor, it was considered a gospel. Now the question arises: “Why were so many things in the various spheres of the Emperor’s life called the gospel?” Because the people at that time believed him, and believed that everything he was doing was the gospel of good news for everyone. Very interesting concept, isn’t it?
That is why in the time of such historical realities, when Christ walked the earth, preached, died and rose again, the disciples could relate to the use of this word (“gospel”) as the basis of God’s word, “Good News.”
When the disciples saw that the doctrine of Jesus Christ, his attitude toward people, and all that he did transcended any human experience that was before, they wanted to reformat this word and give it a qualitatively different meaning, to fill it with a new essence. Since the word “gospel” until the time of Christ’s coming to earth presented a premature guarantee of a good life on earth, how much more authoritative it is for the same word to give meaning and reference to all that Jesus Christ taught and said. Jesus is responsible for his spoken words both here on earth and in heaven.
One day, Peter asked Jesus, “Have we trusted your life, left everything we will have for it?” [“Then Peter said to him …. ‘We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?’ ” Matthew 19:27]
Christ answered Peter that they would have one hundred times more than they left; that life is the eternal inheritance. [“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29]
When we hear or read the words of Jesus Christ, we do not receive the words of an emperor, king, or president who is limited by earthly boundaries and authority, but we receive the words of a God who created everything and controls everything and is responsible for every word of it.
Therefore, we must consider that sometimes the word of God takes us where we do not want, reveals to us the secrets of ourselves about which we would prefer to remain silent, but it is still the word of God. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul says this very aptly: “The Word of God is lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword; “. That’s just the good news. Jesus comes to us in his Word as a caring doctor who treats not only the outside, just as changing one’s appearance is now very fashionable, but changing the essence of our very soul and spirit.
I wish all of you my dear parishioners a deep experience of the Word of God that comes into our lives and an openness to its realization.
I wish you as holy Faustina Kowalska, who has lived through the experience of meeting with the merciful Jesus Christ, has said: “Without God, I can do nothing, only sin, but with God I can do everything.”
With my heartfelt prayers for all of you,