Homilette for Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

(Job 38:1; 12-21; 40:3-5)

"Their’s not to make reply, Their’s not to reason why, Their’s but to do and die." These well-known lines of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, exalt the valor of the British cavalry in the Crimean War. The horsemen were ordered against impossible odds to attack the Russian front. When they did, their losses were heavy. Is it God’s intention in His answer to Job that humans are likewise “not to make reply” to the evil we face? Are we prohibited from reasoning, “'Why’ is this happening to me?” Must we only suffer and sacrifice?

From the first reading today it may seem so. In answering Job’s complaints that he has suffered unjustly, God indicates that His purposes are more complicated than Job could imagine. God knows the intricate relationships among all components of heaven and on earth. Job only knows how to run a farm.

However, God never says that it is wrong for Job to question. After all, He created Job with a heart to feel, a mind to think, and a mouth to ask. God tolerates Job’s questions; he does not punish him for asking. In the end God even provides some answers. The day will soon come when God will reveal more of His purpose to Job-like questioners. When God sends His son into the world to die upon the cross, God shows that He acts first and foremost out of love for humans.