We have a passage today to concentrate our homily focus: it’s from the end part of the Book of Job. (The First Reading of which I told you to give it your special attention.) This Old Testament book is one of the last written, thought to be from in-between 7 and 3 BC (or BCE, before Christian Era). It’s given in a poetic prose, which is a bit unusual for the Hebrew Bible, and it’s written in a dialogue form.

I’ll re-read a part of the passage in a minute, but you just heard it, and it’s likely the first time you’ve heard its line from Job 38’s.

You recall Job’s story, right?! Job was tested by the pressures going on in his life, and he was near the end of it all, and he dialogues with God to share some piece of his mind and complaints. It’s not that Job failed in his trust of God; that was actually quite intact. He knows he is a fairly innocent man but who is going through an extraordinary amount of trials. Job was getting hammered by people about his deteriorating situation, saying to him that either Job was cursed for something (to be getting so many trials his way) or that God was a mean One.

In reading this near-end chapter of Job, you notice how he was still defending God in his situation, but he was quizzing The Lord on what his servant Job was to say in reply to his lots of mockers: ‘Do you know, O God, of how hard they press me? May I so ask of You: do you know what You are doing? Are able to act now for your steadfast believer, O God, or just see him suffer more? Can you explain my suffering to me, or your sense of justice, or why an innocent person would be allowed to suffer so, under Your eyes, O God?!’

The steadfast believer today in our Christian covenant gets placed in the same predicaments, even if not as dramatic as Job’s case. As we keep trusting God, while living in this topsy-turvy, turbulent world, it can be a bit confusing to us of how God holds back from obvious response to evil and fallen human pride. With more people around us in secular pride exalting themselves over God and thinking themselves as the center of all things, all the while in sinning gravely with abandon and with braggart pride in it, then what are we to say of God and ourselves?

The main message of Job is for us to stay in our relationship with God and to try to trust Him. Job is to be complimented for his hanging-in-there with God, and so maybe you, as well, for your still being in dialogue with God, even though many trials and sufferings may be yours. God’s reply to Job, or us, is not to explain everything of what He’s doing, but to exclaim that He remains as God, and we are not!

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said: Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

Job learns it, and so can we: God remains the Center of Who to turn to with our living. We can waver in doubts, perplexities or perhaps some fears. Yet in a world gone amuck, we can still believe in God. Who else are we to trust in?! Boastful humankind throws all kinds of insults and sins out openly against the ‘supposed God’ that’s out there—yet we proclaim He surely is Alive and Well as our One True God (in a Holy Trinity of Persons). We shouldn’t blaspheme God! It is the actions of fools.

The pagans, atheists, secular humanists, new agers and the religion-of self people today will all claim of some better knowledge on life. They act like they can be on their own, doing what they want, with independence from God. They feign they have more intelligence than God or His faithful flock. Yet truly they know little.

Ask them some questions like out of Job 38’s short list, and they’ll have no answers, even for how many things actually work on earth, as they don’t know how the world and universe and universes were made.  Job himself has to admit that he might know very little of all that, but one thing he does know: that God is real and can be trusted and that He has sent among us a Savior and Redeemer. We need God, and God has come in response to that need, to those who will become poor in spirit.

A Mighty God made all there is, and only He knows how everything works, and does knows all about us. Thus, God laughs at the proud—Who do they think they are? Who made the sea and can control it, or the skies, or lands?! Is there some man or people with that colossal skill? We know that Jesus stilled the sea with just a word, just as He once made all the world’s waters with His Word.

Jesus rose from the dead. No one else has.  Job seemingly forecasts or prophesizes it when He states in Job 19:25-27: “I know My Redeemer Lives. At the end of all things, He will stand on the earth. He will redeem us. In my flesh (again) I will see God. How my hearts yearns for it within me!”

Those are awesome words.  All through his trials in life, Job has kept to his faith in the Redeemer of Humanity. We should, too. It would be wise.

To paraphrase it a bit—God is saying to Job throughout the account: ‘If people think they can be in charge now, of this earth, then let’s ask some easy fundamental questions: ‘Do they know anything about making oceans or the earth’s sandy or rocky shores where the sea stops? Can they fill the sky with rain clouds? Can they light up the world with light or turn it to dark? Do they even know how all of that works? Can they solve little problems even, all on their own? How about knowing of how a storm rises up or settles—do they know everything about that—and be in charge of the earth?’   They are a people in folly, which leads to their own destruction.

God addressed Job (and He addresses us, as well): ‘You don’t have all the knowledge and answers, my faithful follower, but you will rely on the wisdom of God and have trust in Me, and that is what really matters.  Life is learning to trust God.’

Today the account of Job is paired with the gospel of the apostles turning to Jesus and of their waking him up to save them. It is an ironic story St. John tells, for when actually it is they who are asleep to the fact of Who is with them in the boat and storm!  Jesus asks them—after His quieting the storm—Why did you turn to Me so late in your predicament, My disciples? Is your awareness or trust still that little or so weak?

We Catholic believers need a vigilant trust in Our Lord. We are surrounded by a world of fools opposing God. Yet it’s not a new thing. Let’s take a side trip in Bible, to where and when Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans (ch 1:21-23)Because (of) that (of man’s utter folly), when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things!”

Then, as you go to the later “church advice” of Romans (ch. 12:1-3,9-16), listen to how it exhorts us on: “I urge you…to offer a…living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect…. Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good… love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones… Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; (and) do not be wise in your own estimation.”  That’s a 2024 Church call from The Lord.

I love how Handel wrote the master work of “Messiah” and it’s repeating line from Job: “I know that My Redeemer liveth!” Handel puts Job’s voice as a centerpiece of life. He quotes Job’s profession of trust as life’s most courageous act. We dialogue with God as to learn how to trust in Him with everything. Part 3 and Scene 1 of “Messiah” is entitled “The Promise of Eternal Life.” Its 164 measures move in an airy style and Larghetto tempo, and it’s not a sermon, but just a mighty hymn of faith with a repeated phrase of how “God lives and redeems us.”


Live that Faith, dear friends!         Fr. John Barry


We live in a week when Stonehenge has had a gathering of scientists trying to discover how a 5000-year-old structure is communicating to us something more of how the sun and moon and time works around us. It holds a mystery of what the world has had in solstices through time, evidently back to the Stonehenge origins. I enjoyed a You Tube special on it.

We have had our heads up to the stars for longer, as 1800 years earlier than Copernicus, the Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos had also proposed the same notion of how the Earth might be rotating on its axis and that the Sun’s apparent movement across the sky might be an illusion. The seeming stoppage of the sun or moon has perplexed us, as has whether the earth is being circled by everything, or rather that it is part of a heliocentric order, about our sun. Unfortunately for Aristarchus, he was so far ahead of his time he was unable to provide any clinching evidence. Now we know. Scientists get new knowledge all the time, but sometimes proving themselves and prior theories to be off or quite wrong. Astronomer Peter van de Kamp said in the 1960’s how he had found two exoplanets orbiting Barnard’s Star, but then it turned out he was wrong—he was seeing an illusion. Oops. But this again was just about scientists and science trying to explain something new.

In the context of Job’s text, God is saying: ‘While man can’t figure much out yet, it is I who made these things! Could you figure how you could make them all outside of Me? You can’t even understand their operations yet!’ We also don’t understand implications and consequences of scientific progress, like AI, but some tech heads don’t have a clue what they are dabbling in. It caused Pope Francis to make a speech about it last week, cautioning us in our pride that we really still don’t know diddlysquat. We should proceed with care, and prayer!

Going back to the Genesis book and Father Abraham of our Covenant Faith with God, the dear and righteous Abraham was in dialogue with God, Who said to him: “Look at the stars, Abraham, and believe I AM.”

Yes, it all starts and ends with faith. Can we pray to God and learn trust in Him?  Doesn’t He deserve it?

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