Do you trust God? If you want to know what trust in God is, look at the reactions of the relatives of the victims of the Charleston Church Shooting when they are confronted with the murderer of their loved ones in court.
“I just want everyone to know I forgive you,” said Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance. “You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you.”
“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson. “We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. … Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.” (The Australian)
Trust is putting our faith in God even in the most excruciatingly painful circumstances, and knowing that his plan is much greater than our minds can understand.
In today’s first reading, Job has lost everything – children, property and health – and has been pouring out his heart to God for 37 chapters. God replies by showing Job his omnipotence:
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me, since you are so well-informed! (Job 38:4)
Job only comes to the end of his sufferings when he realises his own ignorance before God:
I know that you are all-powerful: what you conceive, you can perform. I was the man who misrepresented your intentions with my ignorant words. You have told me about great works that I cannot understand, about marvels which are beyond me, of which I know nothing. Before, I knew you only by hearsay but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:2-3, 5-6)
God rewards Job for his faithfulness and humility:
And the Lord restored Job’s condition, while Job was interceding for his friends. More than that, the Lord gave him double what he had before.
Job still doesn’t understand why he had to go through such suffering, but in this book full of dramatic irony, the reader knows, because back in Chapters One and Two, we saw how Satan wanted to test the faith of Job.
‘Yes,’ Satan said, ‘but Job is not God-fearing for nothing, is he? … You have blessed all he undertakes, and his flocks throng the countryside. But stretch out your hand and lay a finger on his possessions: then, I warrant you, he will curse you to your face.’ ‘Very well,’ Yahweh said to Satan, ‘all he has is in your power.’ (Job 1:9, 11-12)
It was actually Satan who caused all of Job’s misery, not God. God only permits Satan to ‘sift us like wheat’ when He has a larger purpose in mind: an expansion of faith and trust, as in Job’s situation and in today’s Gospel where the Apostles are astounded at Jesus’ Divine Power.
Jesus tells his apostles in today’s Gospel, after he has calmed the storm,
‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’
Jesus wants a lived faith, a life of radical trust and immersion in Him, not a superficial faith that runs fleeing in the other direction as soon as it encounters a challenge.
Read Dr Michael Barber’s Scripture Study on today’s readings.
Fr Barron in his homily for today relates the readings to today’s crisis within the Church.
Download today’s readings:
Word format: Year B 12th Sunday 2015
Pdf format: Year B 12th Sunday 2015