Monday, September 27, 2010

Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, priest

(Job 1:6-22; Luke 9:46-50)

Fr. Jack Hickey founded the original Dismas House, a refuge for ex-offenders just released from prisons. He died a premature death twenty-five years ago but is recognized within Dismas Inc. as its inspiration. Of course, to establish such institutions requires money which Jack pursued with all due urgency. He is quoted as saying that he would have accepted money from the devil for Dismas Houses. Of course, such establishments must avoid material and most formal cooperation with evil, but we see the writer of Job picturing God in a certain sense colluding with evil in the first reading today.

Very critically, God does not perpetrate evil in Job even though He does not restrain it entirely. The reason for this reality will be explained by the story in due time. Today we should only make a few notes. First, as we have said, God does not directly cause evil. Second, the whole of creation, even Satan himself, serves God’s purposes. And third, the good person Job complies implicitly with God’s will to give us a model of how to respond when evil touches our lives. Faithful Jews and Christians for millennia have said with him, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”

More often than ever, perhaps, humans are tempted with the idea that God as we know Him from the Bible does not exist. Science seems to explain most everything that humans once attributed to God. But we should not become disillusioned. Science can and should explain the natural universe. But it cannot explain nature’s creator whom we know as “God.” We believe God is completely beyond us, a being infinitely more mysterious than even general relativity and quantum mechanics. Yet God has chosen to reveal Himself to us out of love. We have prospered with this belief and following His same love.