Saturday, 6 October 2012

Homily for October 6th

 Dear friends,
For the few who have been following this blog at a distance, I apologize for my long period of silence. Part of me has simply lost the interest in blogging, but part of me is also just very busy. that being said, I don't want to give up on this blog, and have much to share with you. So don't give up on me quite yet! Here's a homily I will be giving to my community in about 15 minutes you get the preview!!

The one question that stays with me after pondering today’s readings, is how do we know God? Perhaps some here have been challenged by Atheist friends to answer this question in a different way ‘how can you know something that you can’t see’. We may dismiss the challenge by saying something like ‘I see him in my heart, and you can’t disprove anything I experience there…so shut up’. But the question is a genuine one of those who are seeking. I’ve shared in a previous homily that one of my fondest memories of Don Flynn was sharing a meal with him in a restaurant, and suggesting to him that it didn’t seem realistic for us to speak of knowing the infinite, that God would always remain mysterious to us, no matter how hard we tried to ‘know him’, to which he of course replied ‘but you already know him’.

And this is precisely what Job is confronted with today.  As we saw with a very short flyover the book of Job this week, this man KNEW God his entire life and  had always been faithful servant to this God that he thought he knew, and  yet even he in his righteousness would be challenged in his knowledge of God. In short, what we learn from his experience is that it’s possible to say that we know God while still admitting that we have no clue what he’s really up to.Leading up to the reading  of yesterday, what we did not see during this week’s readings, is that although Job was deeply trusting and faithful to God, he at the same time was ready to take God to court, in order to plead with him, convince him that he has never done anything wrong and always remained righteous, and is therefore highly undeserving of this rather harsh treatment he’s received. As we saw yesterday, God responded to that with what can only be described as taunting rhetorical questions. This is an incredibly dramatic point in the narration, and if they had made a soap opera out of the book of Job, after God’s speech, there probably would have been a dramatic zoom in on Job’s face, and before he ever got to respond, there would have been a fade out, and a voice over saying ‘will he grovel before god, or will he throw a tantrum. Tune in next week when Job has his final words on the last episode of “Yahweh, the God I never Knew’.

Well, as we know quite well, in the end, Job did know God. He knew him all along. Let’s not forget that he himself declares God’s qualities to his friends during his own response to their misguided commentaries. He had just lost sight of that knowledge in the heat of the confrontations and challenges from his ‘friends’. And yet, through his hardship, his relationship to God has changed in a way (the Psalm summarizes that sentiment perfectly with one verse ‘It was good for me that I had to suffer, the better to learn your judgements). The viewers of this Soap opera would have to be given an indication that nothing will ever be the same between Job and Yahweh. And then of course, Job gets his day in the sun again, receiving more blessings than he had before and yes, it’s striking that not only are Job’s daughters are named, but one is called turtledove, and another Mascara, but that will have to be the subject of another soap opera.

By the time we get to the Gospel, it seems that we move away from the theme of knowing God and his works. There is a great celebration of a rare win by the disciples, and an even rarer moment of Jesus overjoyed with their work. But we get one powerful insight on his work today, as he gives thanks for all the knowledge is hidden from the wise ones. He’s basically rejoicing in the fact that is going to spend the rest of days on earth misunderstood, or not fully understood by the whole world, even those who love and follow him.  How, in this moment he was able to feel joy around this, is beyond me.  My reaction would have been more like ‘you idiots will never get this, I’m out of here’. But he rejoices in this because he knows that even the little that the disciples do see and hear exults them, and brings them closer to God.

 As for us, our knowledge of God is limited as was Job’s, as what that of the Disciples…but what we do with that limited knowledge is what brings us into that loving relationship. Whether like our saints of the day, we chose to be a loving presence among the poor or to live simply  and poorly, or whether we simply open ourselves to receiving God’s presence in all that we do,  let us pray that this knowledge allow us  a deeper intimacy with God, and with his all his children.