Job, on a dung-heap, still maintains hope.
He won’t give in to the explanations of his “friends” who want to find some cause for Job’s misfortune in his life.
He isn’t afraid to complain to God about what is happening to him.
But in the midst of all this he finds a source of hope.
As I read today’s first reading (Job 19: 21-27), I thought first of the aria from Handel’s Messiah: “I know that my redeemer liveth.”
God lives – in the midst of devastation, in the midst of poverty, in the midst of violence.
These days I am accompanying the people in seven places in the Dulce Nombre parish as the bishop comes to confirm about 500 young people and a few older people.
It’s a little nerve-racking as I try to get everything right for the liturgies (which is one of the signs of my sinful obsession with perfectionism).
But as I watch the young people all dressed up, some singing with great joy, others glad to be there, I am recovering a sense of the presence of God.
As Job said, “In my flesh I shall see God.”
Yesterday in Plan Grande one of my surprises was seeing a little boy about 6 years old – not one of the confirmed, of course – singing during the Mass. He knew almost all the words of the hymns and had no qualms about singing.
After the Mass, several of the young people newly confirmed insisted that I have my picture taken with them and the bishop. I gave in.
Today, I am out to two remote villages. Even as I fret about the details of the celebrations, I need to watch for these little signs of God’s presence.
But I also need to help the people see the presence of God – for this zone is one that has been plagued by violence. And so I go to open my heart to God’s presence and, I pray, to let my presence help them see God acting in their midst, vindicating them in the midst of poverty, injustice, and violence.