This Sunday’s mass readings seem hand-selected for Father’s Day. The first from the Book of Job (Jb 38:1, 8-11), reminded me of the classic Dad line: “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!”—except God says something a bit less guy-like and a bit more God-like.
The reading excerpt itself is short—about God’s reminding Job how He protects his children from the forces at His command. But in celebration of Father’s Day, why not put this in a more complete context? After all, we’re catching Job and God in the middle of an argument. What started it? Something not too different from any child’s complaint to a parent: “You’re not fair!” It seems Job doesn’t appreciate his Creator’s punishments (http://origin.usccb.org/bible/job/7).
“When I say, ‘My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint,’ then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I should prefer strangulation and death rather than my existence. … let me alone, for my days are but a breath.”
Then God the Father offers this Dad-like retort (http://www.usccb.org/bible/job/38):
“Gird up your loins* now, like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers! Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”
Grow up, sonny, I have socks older than you, God seems to be saying.
Arguments with Dad are unwinnable. And eventually we realize Dad was right all along. We even get to the point where we have complete faith in his counsel and wisdom.
That may explain Jesus’ placid reaction to the storms tossing his boat in Sunday’s gospel reading. While he’s resting in the peace that God was trying to impart to Job—that he has our backs during such tempestuous times—Christ’s disciples are going bananas. Jesus knew the job his Father sent him here to do, and drowning in a stupid boat accident wasn’t it. This turned out to be an important Dad moment for Jesus and his disciples, and in a way he echoes what his Father told Job (Mk 4:35-41):
“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
In our second reading, Paul tells the Corinthians it’s time to grow up spiritually—to get beyond our bodily cares (2 Cor 5:14-17):
“We regard no one according to the flesh,” he writes. “Even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
These readings are a celebration of humanity’s journey with Our Father from rebellion to redemption. He brought us into this world; now we can hardly wait for Him to take us out of it.