"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The eye of the storm

The parochial vicar at my parish, Fr. James Ebright, is such a good homilist and confessor that our bishop is packing him off to study law (canon and civil) for five years. Reminds me of the Army's, and my workplace's, golden rule of human resources: find out what somebody is best at, then make sure they do as little of it as possible. But before he departs next week, Fr. James has managed to remind me of the possibility, as well as the necessity, of finding the eye of the storm.

His homily today was on the readings: Job 38:1, 8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, and Mark 4:35-41. The theme was that God speaks to us in the storms of life with the love that never falters or exhausts itself. Such is the point of stillness, the eye looking right at us, that we access by faith. Of course that does not "make sense" of undeserved suffering, which is perhaps the biggest challenge to faith through the ages. We demand to know "why"—especially "Why me and/or those I love?"—and "how long." Job got an answer; Christ gave the answer. We don't get an answer we can fully understand. And answers, such as they are, do not make sense of the most grotesque instance of suffering: the death by crucifixion of the Son of God. But that very death tells us what our dismay and resentment amid undeserved suffering often prevent us from hearing: God is there, bearing it all with us in love, so that we may become what he created us to be.

It has cost me a lot to have forgotten that in my life before. Let us each do what we must to remember it, so that our faith and love do not falter when we are put to the test.
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