Thursday, February 9, 2012

fifth sunday in ordinary time

Fifth Sun. in ordinary time: The Book of Job; the problem of evil; and Biblical Faith.
According to the Bible, mankind was so self-absorbed that in choosing to bring a people out of this darkness, God revealed Himself (everlasting Love: the Old Testament called it in Hebrew hesed we emeth – most frequently translated loving kindness and fidelity.  Ck. e.g. how often this phrase appears in the Psalms)  only little by little over a long period of time.  At the time the Book of Job was written, from which comes today’s first reading, God had not yet clearly revealed that man has an immortal soul which lives on in a new kind of existence after death.  Job and his contemporaries therefore, had the limited view that God’s favor/love would always be recognized by material prosperity and good fortune, with the other side of the coin being if one experienced bad fortune, poor health, poverty, etc., i.e. evil, it must be God’s punishment because of one’s sins.  Holy (i.e. innocent) Job could not deny all the misfortunes and misery that had come upon him.  We hear some of that in today’s reading.  Yet his faith was so strong Job nertheless continued to believe in the goodness/love of God. (and only ultimately was he rewarded for this).
The other two readings today seem to focus on the importance of preaching (which can be either by one’s words or one’s life.)  Remember that St. Paul vowed to preach only Christ Crucified (cf. 1 Cor.2:2). And Jesus in his preaching made it clear he was a sign of contradiction.  What might that be?  That we all must wade through the fog of the mystery of evil, having faith that by joining our sufferings to the sufferings of Christ, we will ultimately participate in his risen glory.

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