From the desk of Fr Stephen
Recently, I have spoken about the passion of anger we see in the world. As we know, many times, this anger comes from a situation that does not seem fair. It does not make sense to us that this particular thing is happening, and we are not happy about it. We cry out, “Where is the justice in this situation? We do not deserve this.” Sometimes we can do something about the situation, but many times we cannot, and we are left to our anger. Such is the case of our friend Job in the first reading today.
In the Book of Job, he is an upright man. He is a believer. He is faithful to God, yet one awful thing after another happens to him until everything he has is taken away. He does not understand, and the people around him, his friends, do not understand. They come to him and admonish him, saying he must have committed some grave sin for God to punish him like this. Job, though, stands his ground. As far as he knows, he has been faithful to the Lord God. And so, in this story, not only does Job suffer from the things that have been taken away from him, but he suffers from his friends who try to make him feel guilty, suggesting it must be his fault.
This story can trigger so much within us about what we think is right and just and how we think things should go. Even today, in our own lives, we may believe that if we are good people and faithful to God, we will be blessed by Him. Unfortunately, as we know, this is not always the case. All of us can name numerous examples of good, holy people who suffer terrible things and others not so good and holy who are blessed by many things in life. Again, we cry out, “Why, O Lord? Where is your justice? It is not fair! Why do I have to suffer so much, and others don’t?”
There are no easy answers to these questions, especially if we keep score at home, numbering the good and bad everyone does and expecting God to keep score the way we do. What then can we learn from this story? I guess one lesson would be not to try and keep score in our heads. Let’s be honest about it. For whatever reason, the just do sometimes suffer in this life and the unjust do not. It is not always going to make sense to us. Can we be okay with this lack of justice in this life? I say in this life to drive home the fact that God does keep score, but not the way we do. Our faith teaches us we must remain faithful even despite tragedy. This is what Job does. He gets depressed but never curses God. In fact, he says one of the most essential lines ever uttered in the Bible, “We have received good things from the Lord, and should we not accept evil?” Job was able to thank God in the good and the bad times and, eventually, in God’s time, he was rewarded with more good things than he had before. May we also be blessed with the faith of Job today.