September 30, 2022
by Tom Quinn
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 459

Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5
Psalm 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14ab
Luke 10:13-16

Praying Ordinary Time

Finding Our Way Back Home: Getting Un-Stuck in Prayer Life

The might of God predominates. Have you ever been questioned by God? Job had already spent a great deal of his time questioning God. At last God answered him... but His answers consisted of a series of poetic, but rhetorical questions. Have you ever been able to command the dawn; walked about in the abyss; seen the gates of death? God’s words to Job were challenging, evocative, and beautiful. Job could only answer with a subdued equivalent of “what can I say? I cannot argue with you Lord.”

Thousands of years later, we have progressed and learned more about God’s creation. We have begun to explore the abyss, comprehend the breadth of the earth, and we have even changed its face. But we all realize that we cannot control all aspects of nature. It will continue to “take hold of the ends of the earth and shake it, and dawn will come to show darkness its place." God will continue to create, move, protect, and be the most understanding Lord of creation; we will always be humbled by His power. The more that we explore and learn about the universe, the more we find that we do not understand. We are simply humbled and challenged to pay attention to details; to find God in all things.

The responsorial Psalm (139) provides the words that we can use (and that Job could have used) to answer God’s questions. "Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way." I will be still and listen. Since God “knit us” in our mother’s womb, we have become creations that question, observe, and analyze. We find that we are “fearfully, wonderfully made.” We can marvel, “how wonderful are your works.” We hear God speaking to us through our surroundings. “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Today, we read the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10. The now 72 disciples sat with Jesus near his home in Capernaum. His message to them is clear: they will spread his word among many who are hostile to his teachings or have already rejected them. Jesus singled out his own hometown, Capernaum, and two that were only a short walk away. “Woe to you, Chorazin and Bethsaida,” he said. The people of these towns heard his words and saw his miraculous deeds, yet they remained unmoved and unrepentant. Even his own neighbors in Capernaum were personally given a gift from Jesus, and they rejected it. They felt that they knew best; they remained proud and obstinate. Jesus admonished the people of Capernaum. Since he often lived among them during his adult life, they had witnessed his words and actions, yet they rejected him. “Will you be exalted in heaven? [No] You will go down to the netherworld.”

The Pagans of Tyre and Sidon who had not yet witnessed Jesus’ message would be better off at the judgement than the people of Capernaum who knew him and rejected him. “...whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” Are we more like the people of Capernaum, Chorizon, and Bethsaida? How often do we hear, "I was raised Christian, now I do not follow any religion. I do not know what to believe." Jesus’ message is available to more people than ever, yet we see and hear its rejection every day. Millions of people around the world have now heard the words of Our Lord, Jesus. They know of his life and miracles. Jesus continues to live among us, but in our hearts are we as motivated to follow his way to redemption as we need to be?

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