Job 28-30; Galatians 3

Posted June 5, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Job 28:20-23, 28

As for wisdom, where does she come from?

Where is the place of understanding?

She is hidden from the eyes of every living thing; even from the birds of the air she is concealed.

Abaddon and Death say, “Only by rumor have we heard of her.”

But God understands the way to her;  it is he who knows her place.

And to mortals he said: See: the fear of the Lord is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding.

Is it just me or is the world in a whirl of mad confusion?  Job complains of the inaccessibility of true wisdom in the world, but claims it is only found in God.  I got a haircut this morning, and picked up an AARP magazine while waiting, and was attracted to an interview with Helen Mirren, the celebrated British actress.  I’ve admired much of her work, like in “The Queen”, and from the article it seems like she is a genuinely nice, fulfilled, happy person.  But she made a statement “I have no religion.  If I have a soul it has nothing to do with God or religion, but is the spiritual part of my imagination.  The theater and acting is my religion.”  She’s been married to American director Taylor Hackford since 1997, and they have no children.  Then I came home and watched an episode of “Battle Ready” on EWTN, which emphasized the importance of prayer.  “Prayer is the water of the soul” a priest of the Omaha diocese said, “Without it the soul withers and ultimately dies of dehydration.”  Who is echoing true wisdom?  I’m going with the priest.

Job 25-27; Galatians 2

Posted May 30, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Galatians 2:20 yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.

The key to human happiness is realizing that God’s proclamation at Jesus’ baptism – You are my beloved son.  In you I am well pleased. – applies to each and every one of us.  The Father looks and each and every one of us and proclaims You are my beloved son/daughter. In you I am well pleased.  The desire of every human heart is to be loved, and we are loved by the Creator of the universe Himself – infinitely loved!  Loved so much that His Son took flesh and became one of us to reveal the Father’s love.  It’s allowing this Love in and to transform us – to say “Yes!” as Mary said “Yes!” – is the answer to every human problem.

Job 22-24; Galatians 1

Posted May 28, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Galatians 1:10 Am I now currying favor with human beings or God?  Or am I seeking to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave to Christ.

In these words I believe Paul addresses an issue that is perhaps the most challenging in living a true, faithful Christian life.  Being a good model in my behavior I find easy enough; e.g. in following the precepts of the Catholic Church.  But it’s whether or not it’s a good moment to tell another person about these precepts and why they should adhere to them is a tougher decision for me.  It’s not fear of being labeled as judgmental (today’s seemingly most unforgivable social crime) that gives me pause, but the fear of pushing a person farther away from Christ.  It’s easy to intervene when a person is obviously harming themselves – as in addictions – but when they are perceiving their sin as a good thing, that’s when it’s tough.  I pray every day for the grace of discernment in my interactions, and for the grace of the removal of the plank in my own eye.

Job 19-21; 2 Corinthians 12 & 13

Posted May 25, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Job 21:7-17 Why do the wicked keep on living, grow old, become mighty in power? Their progeny is secure in their sight; their offspring are before their eyes. Their homes are safe, without fear, and the rod of God is not upon them. Their bulls breed without fail; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They let their young run free like sheep, their children skip about. They sing along with drum and lyre, and make merry to the sound of the pipe. They live out their days in prosperity, and tranquilly go down to Sheol. Yet they say to God, “Depart from us, for we have no desire to know your ways! What is the Almighty that we should serve him? And what do we gain by praying to him?” Their happiness is not in their own hands. The designs of the wicked are far from me! How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does destruction come upon them, the portion God allots in his anger?

Another example of why the Good News is good news.  Jesus tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  We can bypass a lot of angst and anger by not comparing our state of life with that of others, just trusting in God as the ultimate just Judge.  Heaven will be full of people that if it were revealed to us now that they were there, we would have a “What the….” reaction, baffled and maybe even angry.  What we don’t want is to be surprised in a bad way when we depart from this life!

 

Job 16-18; 2 Corinthians 11

Posted May 23, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

2 Corinthians 11:14 “…for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.”

I’ve had a Catholic with a degree in theology – long-time “centering prayer” advocate by the way – tell me that the Devil was made up by old men to scare people, that a loving God precludes the existence of Hell and the Devil.  In the Gospels, our Lord not only spoke of the reality of Hell but had a personal – albeit adversarial – relationship with the Devil.  A man told Padre Pio he didn’t believe in these things, and the saint replied “One day you will my friend, you will.”  If this is a subject that interests you more, here is a great write-up: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04764a.htm

Job 13-15; 2 Corinthians 10

Posted May 22, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Job 14:1-6 Man born of woman is short-lived and full of trouble, like a flower that springs up and fades, swift as a shadow that does not abide. Upon such a one will you set your eyes, bringing me into judgment before you? Can anyone make the unclean clean? No one can. Since his days are determined—you know the number of his months; you have fixed the limit which he cannot pass—look away from him and let him be, while, like a hireling, he completes his day.

With these words Job addresses God, a plaint of the seeming insignificance of man and the shortness of his days.  Job longs to know the point of his suffering.  Poignant for those Old Testament peoples, not yet having the Good News of Jesus Christ. But in this final age we have it: in the face of every pain and difficulty, of good cheer!  As Saint Pope John Paul II loved to say, be not afraid!

 

Job 10-12; 2 Corinthians 9

Posted May 19, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Job 10: 8-12 Your hands have formed me and fashioned me; will you then turn and destroy me? Oh, remember that you fashioned me from clay! Will you then bring me down to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk, and thicken me like cheese? With skin and flesh you clothed me, with bones and sinews knit me together. Life and love you granted me, and your providence has preserved my spirit.

There’s an obvious difficulty in reconciling suffering in our lives with God’s love and ultimate purpose.  A peek into my personal life: since 2008 I have undergone job loss, two bouts of malignant cancer, Guillain-Barre syndrome, a spouse with malignant cancer, and a son with a brain tumor.  Yet I can tell you with assurance that these trials are gifts, and I have never been more certain of God’s love.  These sufferings (let me be clear, people have suffered far worse) have destroyed my overweening pride and brought me into a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is a painting that I love so much:

It just resonates with me: I’m that man on the Jesus’ left clinging to him.  “Without me you can do nothing” he said, and I have never been more convinced of it.