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Called to blind trust in God’s power and love

June 19, 2015
Father Joseph Previtali

The Book of Job is about the problem of suffering: How can the goodness and power of God be reconciled with the reality of suffering in the world? Where is God in my suffering? How can God expect me to be a disciple and a believer with such anguish in my heart, with such pain in my life?

Job reveals the answer to us as he experiences the whole drama of the problem. In our First Reading, we enter the story at the moment when God is remonstrating Job for his pride. Prior to this passage, Job had grumbled violently and angrily against God, Who had permitted the devil to inflict upon Job so much suffering and evil. Now God is commanding Job to trust in Him. The Creator asserts, by reference to His marvelous work of creation, that He is God and that Job is a creature. This means that the Creator owes no answer to the creature, that, as Isaiah has it, the clay does not say to the potter, What are you making, that has no hands? It is as if God is saying to Job and to us, as He said in the Psalm: “Be still and know that I am God.” In the midst of our suffering and our experience of evil around us and in us, God is saying with His whole Heart, Trust in Me, Who made you; Trust in My Providence and in My Love.

God is revealing here to Job that Job’s complaint was coming from ugly hidden pride. Job thought that he knew better than God, that he knew better what was good for him and what made for his happiness. By complaining, Job was saying to God, I deserve a better life and I’m angry and in anguish that You have taken this away from me. Job demanded answers. God’s call to trust scatters the shadow of Job’s hidden pride and brings him into the light of humility and faith.

The same dynamic of the call to trust blindly in God’s Love comes to us in our Gospel passage from St. Mark. The Apostles were terrified by the storm. Their boat was being buffeted about by the rough waters and powerful winds, and there was Jesus, asleep in their boat as if nothing were the matter. How often does God feel absent to us in the midst of our anguish? The Apostles were going through the same thing. They grumbled fearfully in their hearts, Where is Jesus the Healer and Wonder-worker in this storm? How many times do we ask, Where is Jesus in the storms of my life?

The solution to the problem of suffering in Job is identical to that of the problem of the storm in the Gospel: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Jesus’ words reveal the hidden pride of the Apostles, who were relying on themselves and so were afraid when they were not able to handle the storm on their own. The Apostles were just like Job, in their own way, and now Jesus is calling them to the same blind trust in His Power and Love.

June is the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus’ open Heart is the full answer to our suffering, the perfection of the wisdom given to Job and to the Apostles. In our encounter with His beating Heart of Love, which stopped beating for three days, we discover the ultimate solution to the problem of suffering. Where is God in my suffering? Where is Jesus in the storms of my life? He is there always with me, hanging on the Cross. Where am I?

Father Previtali is parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Pillar Parish, Half Moon Bay.

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