Thursday, September 22, 2005

Two reflections

Two reflections today, as it's been some time since I've written. I read the following verses in Job, 31: 3-8 and 24-28:

Is it not calamity for the unrighteous, and woe for evildoers? Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps? Let God weigh me in the scales of justice; thus will he know my innnocence! If I have walked in falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; If my steps have turned out of the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, or any stain clings to my hands, then may I sow, but another eat of it, or may my planting be rooted up!


Had i put my trust in gold or called fine gold my security; Or had I rejoiced that my wealth was great, or that my hand had acquired abundance - had i looked upon the sun as it shone, or the moon in the splendor of its progress, And had my heart been secretly enticed to waft them a kiss with my hand; this too would be a crime for condemnation; for I should have denied God above.

The first passage is calls us to be accountable for our actions; that we be judged accordingly by what we do and treated in kind. Far too frequently our pride leads us to shirk our responsibilities and sidestep what we indeed should reap fairly. In the aftermath of Katrina we see even those most powerful in the land slinging blame as if it were of no consequence, and the lives of the deceased devalued from those afraid of their responsibility. This passage is so striking because in an era of moral subjectivity Job's words carry more weight - If we have done wrong, so be it, let us be dealt with accordingly.Whether Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian we should have courage to stand up for our behavior.

The second passage shames me fiercly. I have so frequently put my hopes in material wealth, in the pursuit of goods, items, people. I covet. My heart has been secretly enticed and too often given over to those elements that betray my values. Job knows that in so doing, he should have denied God. For me, as a Catholic, I do the same, but the lesson is true for all of us - when we let material possesions dominate our lives, we willingly give up our values and beliefs for temperary pleasures. We deserve better of ourselves.