No and Yes
by Fr. Justin Ramos, O.Praem.
Our Lord admonishes us, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Yet there are several gospel passages where our Lord appears to be saying ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ at the same time.
At Cana, Jesus tells His mother, “My hour has not yet come” — read NO. But then He changes the water into wine — clearly YES. When a gentile woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, He tells her that He has been sent “only to the lost sheep of Israel” — read NO. But then He tells her, “Let your desire be granted” — clearly YES. Right after the Transfiguration, as a father asks Him to heal his son, He tells everyone present, “Faithless and perverse generation! …How much longer must I put up with you?” — read NO. Yet right away He continues, “Bring him to Me” and He heals the boy — clearly YES. In the Gospel, as a royal official pleads for his dying child, Jesus tells him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe” — read NO, but then He tells the persistent father, “You may go; your son will live” — clearly YES.
It seems like Our Lord states a fact or principle: “My hour has not yet come”; “I have been sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”; “Faithless and perverse generation! …How much longer must I put up with you?”; “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe,” then afterwards grants the request.
Growing up, I remember when asking my dad for things, not important things, he’d answer first saying, ‘No,’ or he’d make me ask several times to see how much I really wanted it or he’d make me wait for it. This made me rethink or re-evaluate how much I really wanted something. If I would get it, it was because I persisted; I persevered in my request. At the end, all I can remember is that I got what I asked for. The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked, “What you do speaks so loudly, it doesn’t let me hear what you say.” In other words, the fact that I received what I asked for, overshadowed how hard it was to get it.
It seems that way sometimes with God. He always fulfills all our requests. But only upon reflection, do we realize that in those moments that seem like ‘No’ to our pleas and cries, Our Lord is really purifying our desires to help us understand His Divine Will. So let us ask Our Lord with perseverance and persistence, that way conforming to God’s will we will properly discern God’s yes and no for us.
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