September 30, 2022 – Friday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/093022.cfm)
The words of Jesus seemed to be filled with dismay and pain over the three cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The people in these cities remained unrepentant and unbelieving despite the presence of Jesus in these cities. Jesus walked on their streets, preached to the people and healed the sick. However, the people’s hearts remained closed and hardened.
The Lord has come and made his dwelling among them, yet, still they refused to change their way of life and refused to come closer to the Lord. Though they had many opportunities to respond to the Lord’s invitations and teachings, yet, they were lukewarm, tepid and passive. What the people did in these cities was ultimately a rejection of God. They rejected Jesus and so of the presence of God in their midst. “For whoever rejects me, rejects the one who sent me,” Jesus said.
However, we have heard a different response in the story of Job in the first reading. Job who was overwhelmed with tremendous sufferings in his life questioned the Lord God for allowing those evils to happen in his life. Job actually thought that God is dependent on his goodness and righteousness. Job’s thoughts were grounded on the belief of Divine Retribution, of punishment and reward. Job believed that God was not being God because the evils that he experienced did not fall under this belief of Divine Retribution. Job has been a good and righteous man, hence, he must only enjoy rewards, blessings and the good things in life.
However, in all this quest and unbelief of Job against God, the Lord spoke to Job telling him, that God is beyond what Job thought of. God is not dependent on what we can think and would like to think about him. God is after all the one in control of everything. The wisdom of the Lord is so much beyond our human understanding. This is how Job realized his smallness and his futile belief that God is dependent on his goodness and righteousness.
With this encounter, Job began to focus his heart and mind on God rather than himself alone. Job redirected his thoughts and faith to the Lord rather than on his goodness and righteousness. And so, Job repented and believed.
Today, Jesus’ encounter with the unrepentant and unbelieving three cities and of Job’s encounter with the Lord, we too are called to redirect our focus, our mind and our heart to the Lord. May we become more welcoming of God’s presence and of God’s many challenges for us and allow the Lord to change our ways, our thoughts and even our own beliefs into God’s wonderful ways. Kabay pa.