Oct 1 2020 Reflection
Thursday 1 October 2020
First Reading: JB 19:21-27
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14
Gospel Reading: LK 10:1-12
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day
than for that town.”
My own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him. (Job 19:27)
Was God punishing Job for his sins? That’s what Job’s friends told him. Why else, they reasoned, would he be in such torment?
But Job knew that he was innocent. Even if God had allowed his suffering, Job just couldn’t accept that it was because of his sins (Job 19:21). He even declared that someday he would be vindicated and that he would “behold [God]” with his own eyes (19:27).
When something bad happens, like a natural disaster or the recent coronavirus pandemic, we can be tempted to see it as a sign of God’s judgment against us. That’s especially true when something tragic happens to us personally, like the loss of a child or a debilitating illness or accident.
One of the problems of linking our suffering with God’s punishment, however, is that it can skew our perception of who God is. We may begin to see him as angry and vengeful, not as the compassionate merciful Father that Jesus revealed to us. It may also make us fearful, afraid that our every sin or misstep will bring on misfortune. But of course, that’s not who God is. He is a good God who wants only what is good for us.
So what are we to think when disaster strikes? First, remember that some things that may look like punishment are simply the natural consequences of sin. If we fail to forgive, for example, we may grow hard and bitter. If we overeat, we may end up with a chronic disease. God allows such things, but he doesn’t actively will them.
Second, we need to keep in mind that we live in a fallen world. Illness, death, and natural disasters were never God’s intention for us; they came into the world through sin. One day, when Christ comes again, God will be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). And what a day that will be! There will be no more suffering and no more tears. Like Job, we will behold God with our own eyes—along with the beauty of his perfect creation.
“Father, I praise you for your mercy and faithfulness.”