REFLECTION: God is always with us, even in our most terrible suffering

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

Every week, if we listen deeply enough, the Scripture lessons speak to us about things that are happening in our daily lives, in our world around us. But sometimes it seems even extraordinary how directly the Scriptures speak to us about what has been happening in our world and in our lives. I don’t know if Pope Francis planned this — I doubt it, but it’s so amazing that this week when he published that encyclical letter about the planet and what’s happening to it and all of creation, that now on this Sunday, we have a passage from the book of Job, which calls us, challenges us to think deeply about creation.

As I mentioned in the introduction, Job had been arguing with God: “Why did this happen to me — all this suffering?” He wants answers, and God, being God, has no need to give answers. It isn’t that God doesn’t love him, but God is trying to bring him through that suffering to some new reality of relationship with God. God speaks to Job about creation and makes it clear how Job had no idea in the deepest sense of [who] God is.

God answered Job out of the storm: “I will question you, and you must answer. Where were you when I founded the earth? Answer and show me your knowledge. Do you know who determined its size? Who stretched out its measuring line? Who shut the sea behind closed doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment, when I set its limits? Have you ever commanded the morning or shown the dawn its place that it might grasp the earth by its edges? Have you journeyed to where the sea begins or walked in its deepest recesses?”...

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