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TESTS

TESTS – 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B           

Through tests in life, we find out what our real commitments are. We get insights into ourselves as we face life’s tests. Tests help us know ourselves and others. Tests strengthen relationships and faith. We expect products to be put through tests so that we know their strengths and weaknesses, and to know if they can meet the promises of their manufacturers. Through tests products can be improved and repaired. So can relationships. We test ourselves. The tests we take ourselves though are among the most important, and can be the most demanding.

            The Lord tests us. His tests are the most demanding and important. “God put Abraham to the test.” The Lord wanted to test Abraham’s openness and readiness to do whatever the Lord asked of him. It was a severe test, the sacrifice of Isaac. “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love…offer him up as a holocaust.” He was willing to do whatever the Lord asked of him, so great was his faith. He passed the test. The Lord needed to know that Abraham had complete faith and trust in Him, and was willing to do what He asked of him, even if he didn’t understand. Because of this faith in the Lord, the Lord blessed him and formed the covenant with him making his descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore. Because of his total faith in God all the nations to come after him would be blessed. The Lord said “all this because you obeyed my command”.

            The demands of faith and life can be great. Those who meet the tests of the Lord are entrusted with greater calls and goods. As Paul proclaims in Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us”? The Lord’s tests bring us life. The Lord “did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over for us all.”

            We don’t always know exactly how we are being tested. Life has many tests. Some tests may appear to be meaningless or senseless, and may well be. But even a senseless or meaningless test can test our endurance, patience, faith, hope, and love. It’s probably the meaningless tests, the senseless ones that may be able to do that better than a test we recognize as necessary. Life certainly has plenty of apparently meaningless and senseless tests. They are part of God’s plan. They certainly can test patience and just about every other virtue at times. A persistent fly can be a greater bother than a roaring lion! The testing of small but irritating and senseless tests can prepare us for greater tests.

            We need to remember this when we meet people with constant complaints, and wonder how they are going to be able to live in heaven, because they won’t have anything to complain about. They won’t be able to torture anybody with nonsense. They won’t be able to overlook the most important realities of life. But then, they won’t be needed as instruments to test people’s patience, strength, faith and love.

            How important it is in undergoing the tests of human life to keep our vision of Jesus transfigured before the eyes of our faith, which allows us to pass through many tests.

            Other names for tests are temptations, challenges, trials, troubles, irritations, misunderstandings, sufferings, aggravations, injustices, stupidities, ignorance and persecutions. Many of life’s tests only make any sense if they in some way lead us to a greater faith and union with the Lord. Tests can give transfiguring insights into ourselves and others that might not be possible in other ways.

            The vision of the transfiguration of Jesus helped Peter, James and John be prepared for the apparently senseless trial and suffering of Jesus’ passion and death. We experience people continually transfigured before our eyes as they respond to life’s tests.

            Jesus can be continually transfigured before our faith minds as the Holy Spirit opens us more and more to the Risen Lord Jesus, and helps us to know God’s mind, heart, life, teachings and workings within our life. The more that happens, the more willing we are to act on faith as our Father in faith Abraham did, and to see even in the apparently meaningless tests of life the hand of God strengthening us and testing us to see if we are going to be totally given over to the Lord and His will for us

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