Job 4-6; 2 Corinthians 7

Job 4: 5-9  But now that it comes to you, you are impatient; when it touches you, you are dismayed. Is not your piety a source of confidence, and your integrity of life your hope? Reflect now, what innocent person perishes? Where are the upright destroyed? As I see it, those who plow mischief and sow trouble will reap them. By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his wrath they are consumed.

Job is “comforted” by his friend Elipaz the Temanite.  We should all have such good friends.  I can see myself at Chick Fil-A breakfasting with someone I consider a good friend and when I tell him I’ve been diagnosed with malignant cancer, he replies “As I see it, those who plow mischief and sow trouble will reap them”, and my reply is “So when are you and the little woman coming over so I can fire up the Big Green Egg?”  It does point to a simple human logic though, if you believe in God.  If you are prospering in this life, you must be pleasing the Deity; when things go off the rails, you must have angered the Diety.  What I find amusing about “prosperity Gospel” adherents is their seeming belief that their lives will never go off the rails.  The paradox of the Catholic faith as I’ve lived it since 2008 – my life first jumped the track because of job loss – that the deeper I’ve been drawn into the faith and strove for friendship with Christ, the more from a worldly perspective my life has gone off the rails.  And the weird thing is from the world’s perspective is I’ve increasingly been filled with a sense of peace about it, more certain in my faith, more bemused by the “angry at God” concept.

In today’s Gospel – the Good Shepherd discourse – Jesus tells us:

John 10: 7-9 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate.  Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

Hearing this made me think about the incident on the beach in Libya some time ago, where the 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS with the name of Jesus on their lips.  There were actually 22 men murdered: there was also an Ethiopian kidnapped by ISIS, and after the deed had been done, they turned to him and asked “What about you?”  And his reply was “Their God is my God.”  He heard the Shepherd’s voice, and followed him to pasture.  I would just encourage everyone – no matter what happens in this life – to strive to hear the Shepherd’s voice.

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