Immersed in Christ: September 28, 2020
Monday of the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Begin reading the Book of Job)
The Responsorial is a cry of faith-supported hope: “Lord, bend your ear and hear my prayer” (Psalm 17).
The drama of Job 1: 6-22 is that Job is a righteous man. God is not punishing him for his sins, and Job will insist on this steadfastly against all the arguments of his friends, who think God must be. Nor does he fall into the sin of blaming God in anger and doubting God’s goodness. He does not understand, but he will not judge God.
Sometimes the daily news makes us feel we are getting messages similar to Job’s. One disaster follows another. They don’t all affect us personally, but they affect the world we are responsible for as stewards of Christ’s kingship. One report after another makes it appear God is not reigning on earth; or that, if he is, he is raining punishments down with anger against the human race.
Nevertheless, our faith tells us God is in control, even though he allows freedom and therefore allows sin to delay the establishment of his kingdom on earth. And he is not “punishing” the human race. Most sufferings, even some “natural disasters,” are the natural consequence of our sins, because sin is by definition a destructive way of acting. Other sufferings are simply the result of physical laws impartial in their consistency. But our duty as stewards is to persevere in faith by believing God is winning in spite of appearances; and in fidelity by continuing to work for God’s reign regardless of visible results. We just keep praying, “Lord, bend your ear and hear my prayer.”
In Luke 9: 46-50 Jesus tells us that to do great things for his kingdom, we need to do small things for the “little“ people: for children and those whom the world does not consider important. “Whoever welcomes this little child on my account welcomes me.” To help God reign in our world we first have to let his love reign in us — for God typically works through humble beginnings that grow slowly like the mustard seed 1, not through great impressive projects. And what allows him to bear his fruit through great institutions and undertakings is the humility and charity of those working within them — especially the respect and kindness they show to all people, great and small alike.
We can get so impressed by some big group or institution with which we identify that it surprises us to see people “not of our company” doing great things. We even try to stop them. But Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me (not you) is against me.”2 Those “not against you are for you.” Only Jesus is the criterion.
Initiative: Be a faithful steward. Keep working with faith, hope and love.
1 Matthew 13: 31-32; 17:20.
2 Luke 11:23.