The Sacred Scriptures teach us that God created humankind in his “image and likeness” (Gen 1/26) and was appointed by Him as masters of earthly creatures and asked him to ‘subdue’ them and to have ‘dominion’ over them (Gen 1/28). He has asked him also to ‘fill’ the earth and ‘preserve’ it (Gen 2/15). Man has been made as the crown of creation. The Psalmist explains it beautifully “What is man that you care for him? You have made him little less than Angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet” (Ps 8/4-6). As people redeemed by the blood of Christ (Heb 9/12) we have become temples of Holy Spirit. St. Paul writes to the Corinthians “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? …… For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple” (1 Cor 3/16-17). We are like people who have precious treasure contained in earthen vessels (2 Cor 4/7) and who are themselves weak and worthless (1 Cor 2/3). But God’s Spirit present in us gives us the extraordinary power to confess and to proclaim with our lips that Jesus Christ is our Lord. Though man controls vast forces of nature and moulds the world through his discoveries and inventions by his intelligence, still he feels weak and helpless in certain moments of life. He undergoes struggles and consequently suffers pains.
This experience of struggles, pains, helplessness and weakness is the expression of the wounded nature of man by sin. As a consequence of his sins, man is split within himself. Therefore, all of human life whether individual or collective shows itself to be in a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. Indeed, man finds that by himself incapable of battling against the assaults of evil successfully. St. Paul, writing to Romans says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7/15). Hence we are people who are weak – weak in our faith, in our resolve, in our keeping the promises (Ps 51/5). Sickness, persecutions, troubles, tribulations and temptations often challenge our faith in God. We have a fragile heart that absorbs all the hurt feelings. We are constantly waging war with our bodily weaknesses, emotions, attitudes, fear, anxiety, worry, sorrow, grief, inferiority complex, lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, contempt etc. This experience of weakness and helplessness calls us to depend on a higher power. St. Paul says, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor 12/9). When we are weak and rely on him, His grace abounds in us and thus we become in fact stronger.
The words of the Psalmist console us in our weakness “Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation” (Ps 91/14-16). This extraordinary power belongs to God alone and with this power we are made strong to withstand our frailty whatever the calamity we may have to face but it cannot overwhelm us. “We are afflicted in every way but no crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed (2 Cor 4/8, 9). This is because “We have the light of God shine in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4/6), who is risen. Alleluia.
I wish you all a holy and joyful Easter
Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose
Bishop of Thanjavur