Jb 38:1, 8-11
2 Cor 5:14-17
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Job’s life and sufferings raised many questions for him and those around him. What did he do wrong? If he didn’t commit a great sin, why was he experiencing so much misfortune? How can one find strength in the midst of so much loss, and how can one trust God in the midst of so much adversity? Job ponders his fate, and his wife and his friends chime in with their advice. Then, after all the human words are spoken, God himself breaks the silence and speaks to Job in chapter 38, from which today’s first reading is taken. God responds to the puzzlement of human beings by asking a series of questions that highlight the difference between God and his creatures. It would be instructive in this homily to read some of the other questions in Job 38, which give a tremendous sense of perspective that we so easily miss. We find it so easy to question God and to take the role of God. Yet when God asks us if we are really able to take his role or claim to do any of the things he does, the very questions show the absurdity of human pride, and the foolishness of an unwillingness to trust God.
It is trust in the midst of danger that the apostles likewise learned, as Jesus, in the boat, showed himself to be the only one who can answer God’s questions in Job 38 – for he is God.
This lesson of trust and utter humility in the face of God’s infinite Providence is a tremendous antidote to the temptation of individuals and families to resort to abortion and euthanasia. “How will I handle this child I did not anticipate? How will I handle this terminal illness?” When these questions confront us, like stormy waves on the see threatening to sink the boat, we need to hear the questions of Job 38, and to know the power of the one who, though he may seem asleep, is in control.
It has been said that the false god transforms suffering into violence, but the true God transforms violence into suffering. Suffering may tempt us to resort to the violence of abortion and euthanasia. But love, faith, and trust call us to endure suffering while growing in union with God and one another.
This set of readings not only inspires the trust and hope we need to choose life, but ultimately challenges the arrogance displayed by the culture of death. We literally try to be God as we try to control the timing and manner of death through euthanasia and assisted suicide, or try to control the circumstances of conception and birth by contraception, genetic manipulation, and abortion. Yet far beyond anything that human intelligence, in its pride, can accomplish is the “new creation” of which the second reading speaks. The true victory over the evils of this life comes in the transformation already available to us in Christ.