JOB’S FAITH AND THE OURS

 

The entire story of the Book of Job ends with the verse: I know that you can do all things, I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear (Job 42,2a.5a).
 
At the beginning of the story there was no righteous man as Job for his integrity and moral rectitude.
And yet, he knew God by hearsay.
 
What makes Job switch between moral integrity to an existential knowledge of God?
 
IT IS THE ORDEAL.
 
Even we believers often know by hearsay, giving an intellectual assent to the Gospel; but knowing God existentially is quite different, and the Job’s story brings us to the summit of religious spirituality.
 
The trials of life that often fall on us can become, with the help of God, a unique opportunity to know Him, but not because we come to see God with the eyes, but because we feel his presence beside us: before I knew you hearsay, now my eyes see you
 
Forty years ago I met the Gospel of St. John, a meeting that has upset my life bringing me where I am today.
Having lived the first part of my life as a non-believer layman, however in research, and then as believer and priest, I can finally say today that the knowledge which Job refers to, the true knowledge of God, just depends on our docility, from the awareness of what we are experiencing.
 

We are all on their way to an incredible goal: HEAVEN!!
 
But perhaps none of us really wants it.
Because our heart beats for other things, the ones we can see and touch.

 
Then we must ask ourselves, and the Year of Faith is a precious opportunity to reflect about what is the good that my soul desires first of all?
 
Is it Heaven?
 
Let us ask ourselves, because, if we desire different things, if the reference of our existence is restricted to worldly concerns, even legitimate, we will always be in danger and would possibly lose ourselves, giving up on our salvation.
 
It is God who can give our life a turning point.
 
St. Thomas says that when we are able to fully love God above all things, everything in our lives will automatically be in harmony, even in everyday life.
But if this love is not fulfilled, such harmonization is impossible to achieve.
Whenever we act, every time we get moving, we can only have one goal.
If that goal well matches to the End which is God, then we get closer to Him.
 

Job’s story tells us that it is one thing living a life motivated by the desire to achieve a moral perfection (Job was a righteous man, upright, virtuous, observant), and quite another living it having God as the main criterion.
 
Through a terrible trial, Job takes a vertiginous leap of faith.
 
You shall love the Lord your God above all things!: then above my wife, my husband, my children, my beloved ones…
 
Apparently, it seems something unnatural, an authoritarian forcing of our lives.
But facts are quite different.
 
God is love, God is forgiveness, God is mercy, God is welcome, God is the Father who is always awaiting us, always ready to welcome us because he loves us totally.
 
To love him fully means to live the same kind of love that He gives us.

 
If we are, I will be, you will be able to love in this way, in your turn you will give this same kind of love to your wife or your husband, to your children, to your beloved ones…
 
And this love will transform you, making you become a gift: a gift of mercy, forgiveness, welcome.
 
As St. Thomas said, with God first, all our live we will be transformed into a new life.
This is the challenge of evangelization, that today more than ever we are called to live.
This challenge, accepted and lived in our hearts, can change the world.
 
Yours, father Giuseppe Paparone o.p.