My mother taught me about God. My mother taught me that God created all things, living or non-living. I remember when I was a child, I asked my mother, “Nay, why are there mosquitoes? Why did God create flies? Why did God create cockroaches? Why did God create mice? She did not answer me. She just replied, “Just keep quiet.” She could not answer me but as time passed, my questions changed. I no longer asked why God created the cockroaches, mosquitoes and flies. I asked, “Why is there cancer? Why does it flood? Why is there an earthquake? Why do children die? Why do some old people die without any companion? Why are there parents who abuse their child? Why?” My mother already had an answer. She told me, “God does not sleep.” But as time passed, my questions changed. And now I ask not why there are mosquitoes or flies, but I am asking, “Why does God allow coronavirus to disturb us this way? Why does God allow COVID-19 to destroy our customs, to disable us from praying together in the Church, why?”
Maybe my mother would again tell me: God does not sleep. But I would like to tell my mother, if God does not sleep, why does He seem to be on AWOL (absence without leave)? If God does not sleep, why does He not seem to care? If God does not sleep, why does He not seem to be doing what we hope he would do for us? In addition to my mother’s teaching that God does not sleep, St. Paul tells us, God does not cease. God works for the good of those who love Him. In this pandemic when we experience death, sickness, insecurity, unemployment, God does not seem to answer. Why? We should ask instead, “Lord, what are you doing?” It is very clear that God is not sleeping and does not cease so improve everything that is happening.
What does this mean? When something good happens, God is there. You know why? Because God wants to keep it good. Because when something good happens, the devil can enter and destroy the good. So when something good happens, God enters that goodness and preserves it so that it will not turn bad. We know that. Good things that start out good get ruined or broken. So when something good happens, God is there to protect it from turning to bad. But when something bad happens, God is also there in order for that bad thing to bear fruit of goodness. For example, a seed is buried in the ground and decays. The decay stinks. The decay is of no use. But because of the decay of the seed that is buried in the ground, a bud develops into a plant and into a tree, and the tree bears fruits. God uses the decay to bear fruits.
In the Gospel, Philip and Thomas kept asking. We can say that despite being together for a long time, they still were asking questions. But God works for the good of those who love Him. Instead of being irritated, instead of berating them, He used the occasion to teach them, “I am the way to the Father. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” So he changed the ridiculous question into an opportunity to teach.
In the First Reading, Acts of the Apostles, the Christians were fighting because they neglected the poor. We can ask: why are you fighting? But the better question is what does God do when those who believe in Him are fighting? And what did God do? From the quarrel, from the murmuring of the first Christians, He gave us deacons so that the murmurings can be attended to, so that the hungry can be fed, so that the poor can be served, so that the thirsty can be given a drink.
This means, my dear brothers and sisters, our faith does not answer the question— Why? Our faith answers the question—What is God doing while we are under COVID-19 pandemic? Has God forgotten us? Where is God now that there is a pandemic? I have an answer. All of us experienced it but did not realize it. All of us went through the womb of our mothers. I won’t say all nine months because some are premature. But all of us went through the womb of our mothers. Can the infant ask, “Mama, where are you?” The infant cannot ask that because his mother is all over him. The infant will not ask, “Where is my mother?” because no part of infancy is not touched by a mother.
So where is God? God is all over us. It is He who gives us this air to breathe. It is He who makes your heart pump. It is He who gives you antibodies to fight infections, it is He who gives you friends. Everything that we have is from God. And all of us do not notice God because all of us are infants in the womb of God who loves us. So when the baby asks, “Mama, where are you?” the mother will say, “I’m all over you.” When men and women ask, “God, where are you?” God says to us, “I am all over you. You cannot see Me because you are inside My heart. You cannot see Me because you are inside My womb, you cannot see Me because you are inside Me but trust, trust, trust that you are inside Me because I love you, and all will be well.”
To mothers, thank you for the love for us, your children. Because of your love, we feel even a little of how much God loves us. To mothers, thank you very much because you are always with us. You bore us and we cannot ask, “Where are you?” because you are always present and you have taught us that God is always present and everything works out for the good of those who love the Lord. The question is not “why,” the question is “what.” My mother said, “God does not sleep” and the Bible says, “God does not cease to love, care, and save us.”