“..& God said to Satan “where have you been?” “..round the earth, roaming about” said Satan so God asked him “did you notice my servant Job, a sound & honest man who loves God & shuns evil” “yes” said Satan “but Job is not God fearing for nothing, is he? you have blessed all he undertakes, but stretch out your hand & lay your finger on his possessions, & I warrant you, he will curse you to your face.” & God let Satan have his way with Job & his family..he lost everything; his family his wealth his possessions..& even his faith.. ..& now for us, in footsteps of Job, the evil of the virus & the pandemic.. & at end of it all, from heart of the tempest [the pandemic & cruelty of variants] the Lord gave Job..& now us..his answer ..there is no answer..it is the mystery of suffering at each Mass we proclaim the mystery of faith..beyond words explanation answer..so too the mystery of suffering..
“..why?..faith is to learn to live with the question mark..” ; Lord have mercy “..faith remains when understanding fails..” ; Christ have mercy “..the worth of sufferinig is when it is united with the suffering of Christ..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..as first explorers went to sea in ships to find new worlds, they thought world was flat, & on maps they drew as they got further & further, on what they thought was as far as it went, they wrote on map “beware, dragons beyond here” the sea has always been thought of as abode of forces of evil, showing themselves in storms huge waves & destructive power, & yet sea was a vital medium for God’s plans for creation..in the beginning he made the seas, he started & ended flood as humanity’s mis-behaviour meant he had to wipe slate clean & through Noah begin again..he parted waters of Red Sea with a low tide for his chosen people to cross safely, then brought in the high tide that drowned Egyptians..& in 1st rdg book of Job sense of divine control “come thus far I said” said God “& no farther, here your proud waves shall break” a God, our God, well able to control forces of chaos & evil..he a rock of dependability for his people in face of crisis, & the belief of people that, even in midst of most terrible storms in life, God will be there & will be at work to save..but how present alert & at work was he in the boat? “he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep” in a deep sleep of his own trust in the protective power of God..graffiti on wall outside Wembley says ”God saves.. & Kane scores with the rebound”..”God will provide”..graffiti Abbess of Poor Clares in Arkley wrote on my heart years ago when I was advising them on a new roof for their convent..it was to cost £350,000 then over £1m today & I asked sensitively if they had anything in bank “we’ve been saving hard in recent years & we have £50,000” she said proudly bless her.. then, as a Jobs comforter, I explained the reality of a real commercial world where once contract signed they/we would have to pay more than that sum every month..all she would say was “God will provide” & she signed the contract..12months later new roof was finished & every bill every month had been paid on time..it contrasts with the shallow faith of disciples in boat, & mine then, when choppy waters emerge, never mind a storm force 8 gale & 30ft waves, we are afraid terrified, even to mistaking Our Lords sleep as careless indifference..& annoyed they wake him with a rebuke “Master, do you not care? we are going down” echoing words of Martha & Mary “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” & yet their faith floated to surface “but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you”..& then came the turn in the tide. low tide/high tide moments are his to decide, not in chronos time BST/GMT but kairos time “you worry & fret about so many things, but only one thing is needed, Mary has chosen the better part” to sit at my feet in relationship & all will be well believe me.. “why are you so frightened..how is it that you have no faith?” notice he questions not their little faith but their lack of faith..he can cope with our little faith, our need for improvement, our need of repairs to our seaworthy boat, but he can’t help with a lack of faith which maintains an impressively varnished boat in a dry dock..a museum piece.. “he could work no miracles there, he was amazed at their lack of faith” this is a different Jesus living praying out essence of what RSB terms “conversatio morum” a gradual daily conversion of life..tidal like rock on beach at Whitby..look at it, picture it, remember it, see it again 2wks later having been challenged by 2tides day & it looks as solid resilient identical as ever, but in 6months time you’ve to look carefully incredibly to realise it is the same rock “conversatio morum” you & I post covid 14 now 15months of being changed..listen to St Paul in 2nd rdg “even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now..& for anyone who is in Christ [ in the boat with him ] there is a new creation; the old creation [ pre 20 March 2019 ] has gone, & now the new one is here.” a new one to trust in..we are like first disciples in boat, here & now, you in the nave [navus crew..the crewspace] & we are about to leave safety of harbour & cross over to the other side..a different parish..there will be storms gales rough seas disagreements uncertainties, difficult decisions, wobble moments “do you not care? we are going down!” the wise counsel, wise advice from Jobs comforters maybe not to set sail yet..whilst the adventurous, like Mother Abbess, know that if you wait too long for a favourable weather forecast, you will miss the high tide moment to set out into the deep..& miss discovering the catch of a lifetime..finish with the wisdom of Fr Herbert McCabe OP ; “faith is about what is beyond the horizon of the humanly possible. Faith is exploring into what people could never achieve by themselves. Faith is the mysterious need in us to get to where we could surely never go. Faith, in fact, is about what we call God. Faith is the inkling that we are meant to be divine, that our journey will go beyond any horizon at all into the limitlessness of the Godhead. [ beware, dragons beyond here..remember? ] Faith is not our power to set out on this journey into the future. It is our future laying hold on us. It is the crucified & risen Christ gathering us toward himself. Faith is not something we possess. It is something by which we are possessed. It is the Spirit of Christ bringing us to what we are meant for; the eternal love which is the Father.”
I dare you to take home with you all you have just heard in last 10mins, to share it with someone very dear to you, who thinks they have lost their faith weeks months years ago, let them meet the real you, on your journey of conversatio morum from being a Jobs comforter to realising you are a Mother Abbess, & let your faith in them repossess them..“the Spirit of Christ being them to what they are meant for..eternal love.”