In Korea as in many parts of the world the numbers of those who are considered non-believers continue to increase. The pandemic will no doubt intensify this tendency.
Religion for many gave meaning to life but nowadays with the help of science people find purpose in life without religion but again it is forgetting the difference between meaning and purpose. They are different. One can find purpose in life without religion but without meaning life becomes pointless. Finding purpose in life is important but it may blind us from meaning as in the case of Paul.
A mother in one of the parish bulletins asks for help in dealing with her son Paul who as a child was an altar boy, dutifully went to catechism classes during his school years, entering college all changed.
She mentions in her letter that when she told her son to at least go to Mass his response was clear. "Mother, God is supposed to be almighty why is the world in such a mess? Why do we have the pandemic? If there was a God he would not leave those he made and love endure such suffering. Mother you need a religion, please don't interfere with my freedom to not believe."
The writer tells the mother that the son's premise is incomplete. Her son's situation is widespread, many other families are experiencing similar reactions. God is not only almighty but also at the same time all loving and merciful. He gave us his Son to save us and watch over us.
God's way is not our way, he transcends all our thinking. We can never succeed in understanding God with our minds. He is always leading us towards the good; not only the good we easily understand but to a greater good that we don't understand.
This Almighty God gave us his son. He loved us so much he wanted to live with us and allowed him to die on the cross to show us that love. The Jews of that time were not able to accept him. That he was the son of God was too much for them it was blasphemy.
They wanted to get rid of him. He was not God almighty, for them, it was the clear absence of God. Although he was God he was not seen as God. He was silent; they did not hear his voice. Their eyes and ears were not open.
God is everywhere but transcends all. Paul, your son was not able to grasp all the other aspects of God besides being almighty. He did not appreciate his mercy, patience, and his leading us to the greater good. Was this not the absence of God. He has yet to meet the God who came to earth to carry the cross. Liturgically today is the day we recall this truth. He only saw the God who was meant to get rid of all suffering. He was not able to see the God of love. Paul in his later years when he has met suffering and is open to the graces and the working of the Holy Spirit will like St. Thomas: "My Lord and my God."
God is everywhere. But those who are not conscious of this he is absent. They do not see the world with God's eyes but only God with earthly eyes. When one is able to open the eyes of the heart and go deep into the recesses to experience the presence of Jesus it's then that all changes. This is spiritual maturity. This change on the spiritual journey continues and because of God's transcendence, we begin to appreciate that God comes to us differently every day. His absence allows us to experience a different presence. Am I bound to the God that I have created?