Memorial of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
(Job 1:6-22; Luke 9:46-50)
Genetic selection is talked about as a certain reality in the not so distant future. It is said to provide couples with the ability to have the kind of offspring they desire. If they want a baby with as much brawn as Serena Williams or as much brain as Albert Einstein, they have only to arrange it with their geneticist. Genetic selection has also the possibility of avoiding medical defects like autism. What is disturbing about genetic selection, however, is that it obscures the consideration of children as a gift from God. We hear Job declaring this truth in today’s first reading.
The Book of Job is a brilliant gem in the Bible’s jewelry shop. For millennia it has provided a way to understand both the incomprehensibility and the ultimate goodness of God. It also gives a portrait of a truly good man. Job is not only notable for his patience but also for his faith. He believes that God is the author of life and that children are His gifts to the parents who give them birth. They do not belong to anyone except the Lord.
A theologian has expressed a valid stance for parents in the process of having children. He said that they should be “open to the unbidden.” That is, rather than trying to plan every aspect of children’s lives including genetic features, parents are to accept their children as they are. Of course, they should provide their needs and instill in them moral values. But they are to recognize that children are a gift from God not to be fabricated and engineered but cherished.