12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Simham)
Dear Friends in Christ,
It is important to hear this Sunday’s first reading from the Book of Job in context. When the Just Man suffers, who will avenge him? The epitome of the Just Man is Job. Honorable in his relationships with God and his fellow humans, Job, at the beginning of the story, is blest with the best this world has to offer. He is beloved by all who know him. Then, in a moment, his fortunes change. Satan is granted permission by God to test Job to see how deep his honor runs. His family and possessions vanish in a storm. Job is reduced to the status of pauper and sits in an ash heap, covered with sores. To Satan’s amazement, Job does not curse God. Job remains faithful.
Why do terrible things happen to good people? That is the question posed by three friends who posit reasons of fault in Job for which his sufferings are repayment. Job refuses to accept their logic. All the while he concludes it is the Lord who gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
So, we are at the end of the story. After all of the arguing and wondering why, God speaks, not so much to refute or correct, but to help Job and the others see God as God is. God speaks of the sea . God reminds Job that God set limits for the sea and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled. The sea is majestic.
In this Ordinary Time we continue the journey with the Gospel of Mark. Each time we make this journey it is to be formed more and more in Christ, and to make clearer our understanding of who Christ is. Most important, we come to understand what it means to be his disciples. Those are not easy lessons to learn.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Quiet! Be still! The clam followed immediately. What Jesus said then to those in the boat with him, he says to us. Why are you terrified? Do you not have faith? This is the question we have to ask ourselves constantly. They called Jesus “teacher” as they woke him. Rabbi. Our understanding can be at that same stage of development as we acknowledge the wonders of Jesus’ teachings and how well they apply. But the faith that Jesus looks for goes beyond that. Way beyond that. They were filled with great awe and said to one another: Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?
It is one thing to be filled with great awe, which translated means to stand and gape with mouths wide open. Amazement is not faith. They asked the question. So do we. Who then is this? It is the question we continue to ask all along the journey as we are drawn deeper into Mystery each time we assemble to break open the Word and to celebrate Eucharist. We know that the Spirit will empower the answer when we know we believe.
And then we are sent to continue the proclamation.
Fr. Showreelu Simham