Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday word

26th Tuesday B (03 Oct 2006) Jb 3. 1-3,1-17,20-23; Ps 88; Lk 9. 51-56
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Four Questions and One

The Book of Job wrestled with the mystery of suffering and ends with Job discovering--what was present all the time--more expansive and deeper awareness of the presence of God. First of all, human suffering is a mystery. The why question, why do people suffer? is not much help and really distracts us from God and the revelation to us that we “have been created by God for a blissful purpose beyond the reach of earthly misery.”1

We want to rush beyond the suffering of the moment. The reading today about a grieving Job reminds us that the only way beyond suffering is to go through it. I wrote four letters of condolences yesterday to priest friends and shared that I discovered that when my father died in 2001. Part of grieving, part of any suffering, is being very deliberate about what is happening and about everything I am feeling.

Being deliberate is key to living a life that resembles the pattern of Jesus life. Replicating in our individual lives the pattern of Jesus’ life makes a Christian life.

[Jesus] deliberately set himself to travel to Jerusalem. Luke’s gospel constantly reminds us that Jesus’ travel to Jerusalem is prophetic (if we were the first hearers, we would not fail to hear echoes of the prophet Elijah in particular). Jesus spoke the word of God on his way: some rejected what they heard; others heard and became part of the people.

How deliberate are we? Do we apologize for mysteries around us, suffering included? Do we apologize for being a friend of Jesus, one of his contemporary disciples? Do we neglect to cultivate our prophetic ministry which is one of the graces of baptism? Or are we deliberate Christians, who imitate the pattern of Jesus’ life with our lives?
1. Gaudium et spes, 18, The Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

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