A Blessing In Disguise
Job 32: 7 - 8, 33: 4
I thought, days should speak, and many years teach wisdom! But there is a spirit in human beings, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding. For the spirit of God made me, the breath of the Almighty keeps me alive.
Despite the most recent advances in our world today, there is one question that keeps coming back generation after generation, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" It's just not fair! Many have tried to answer and no one knows. The Book of Job, one of the oldest writings in the Bible, tries to answer this question. In other words, Is God Just? Does justice exist?
Job is the story of a man whose faith is being tested by "the Satan" the evil one, who claims that Job only believes in God because he has a very comfortable life with everything one could imagine - a loving family, a beautiful home, a huge farm with plantations and livestock etc etc. God lets Satan put Job to the test. Within 24 hours Job looses everything and everyone in his family. Despite his loses, he still believes in the unconditional love of God. He is again tested by loosing his health; he is now very weak and covered in sores.
Three friends come to visit because they believe that Job is being punished by God because he must have done something terrible. They search and search but never find out why. Job finally meets God face to face in the form of a storm. God takes Job on a world trip to show him its beauty but also how complicated it is to "run" the world. He asks Job if he thinks he is capable of managing all of the problems and details of the world? Job realizes that only God sees "the BIG PICTURE" and that Job is only concerned about his little corner of the earth. Job finally understands that God is LOVE , just and wise in all of His decisions.
In the beginning, when God created mankind, there was complete trust and confidence between God and His children until the day that the serpent put "doubt" of God's infinite love for them into their minds and this led to temptation. Now that they had disobeyed God, they "doubted" that He could still love them unconditionally and hid. They didn't want God to see their "nakedness", meaning their true selves.
Meet the Challenge
Being like Job is a challenge. "It just isn't fair" is what we all feel anytime something happens to us or a loved one, or even when we hear about a terrible event in the world. Our challenge this week is to examine how many times daily doubt enters our minds and changes our perceptions, making it impossible for us to "understand" the spirit of the Lord. We doubt our loved ones, our co-workers, the Church etc. Think about how long it takes to develop a trusting relationship with someone where you don't doubt anymore and begin to see the person with your heart. Almost impossible today. The first temptation of Christ in the desert was doubt! Was He the Son of God?
The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread." (Matthew 4: 3)
Understanding is the second gift of the Holy Spirit. It unlocks the many mysteries of life and helps us to make sense of our lives and the profound mysteries of God. If we have faith and surrender to Jesus, He will open up our minds to understand Him. First we believe and then we understand. It is seeing with your heart and soul and not just with your eyes.
The reward of faith is to see what you believe. (St. Augustin)
In the Gospel, when the two disciples were on the way to Emmaus and broke bread with Jesus, they only realized at the end who he was.
"When he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight." (Luke 24: 30 - 31)
Even though the disciples lived with Jesus, they had great difficulty in understanding His teachings. When they were on the way to Galilee, just before the Passion, Jesus said:
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. (Mark 9 : 31 - 32)
The disciples give us a clue to help us know when we are beginning to see with our heart and soul.
"Were not our hearts burning while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24: 32)
Come Holy Spirit! Make my heart burn with understanding when I pray or read the Scriptures. Fill my heart with a burning desire to understand God and His ways. Jesus thank you for your unconditional love and mercy especially when I doubt. Show me how to trust you more and more. Help me to build trusting relationships where I see each person not only with my eyes but my heart.
Let us pray with St. Francis, his famous prayer for peace within ourselves and around each of us. Let us meditate on each word and their meaning in our current circumstances of life.
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Let's Praise Him
Let us praise the Lord for his daily justice and wisdom in our lives!
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6