Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 38)
March 31, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Chapter 38 (Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent)

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 
Gird up your loins like a man,
   I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 

‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding. 
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it? 
On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone 
when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 

‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
   when it burst out from the womb?— 
when I made the clouds its garment,
   and thick darkness its swaddling band, 
and prescribed bounds for it,
   and set bars and doors, 
and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
   and here shall your proud waves be stopped”? 

‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
   and caused the dawn to know its place, 
so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
   and the wicked be shaken out of it? 
It is changed like clay under the seal,
   and it is dyed like a garment. 
Light is withheld from the wicked,
   and their uplifted arm is broken. 

‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
   or walked in the recesses of the deep? 
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
   or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
   Declare, if you know all this. 

‘Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
   and where is the place of darkness, 
that you may take it to its territory
   and that you may discern the paths to its home? 
Surely you know, for you were born then,
   and the number of your days is great! 

‘Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
   or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
   for the day of battle and war? 
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
   or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? 

‘Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,
   and a way for the thunderbolt, 
to bring rain on a land where no one lives,
   on the desert, which is empty of human life, 
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
   and to make the ground put forth grass? 

‘Has the rain a father,
   or who has begotten the drops of dew? 
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
   and who has given birth to the hoar-frost of heaven? 
The waters become hard like stone,
   and the face of the deep is frozen. 

‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
   or loose the cords of Orion? 
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
   or can you guide the Bear with its children? 
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
   Can you establish their rule on the earth? 

‘Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
   so that a flood of waters may cover you? 
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
   and say to you, “Here we are”? 
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
   or given understanding to the mind? 
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
   Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 
when the dust runs into a mass
   and the clods cling together? 

‘Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
   or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 
when they crouch in their dens,
   or lie in wait in their covert? 
Who provides for the raven its prey,
   when its young ones cry to God,
   and wander about for lack of food? 


It is especially consoling to note—and also accurate in accordance with the Gospel and history—that at the side of Christ, in the first and most exalted place, there is always his Mother through the exemplary testimony that she bears by her whole life to this particular Gospel of suffering. In her, the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such an interconnected way that they were not only a proof of her unshakeable faith but also a contribution to the redemption of all. In reality, from the time of her secret conversation with the angel, she began to see in her mission as a mother her "destiny" to share, in a singular and unrepeatable way, in the very mission of her Son. And she very soon received a confirmation of this in the events that accompanied the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and in the solemn words of the aged Simeon, when he spoke of a sharp sword that would pierce her heart. Yet a further confirmation was in the anxieties and privations of the hurried flight into Egypt, caused by the cruel decision of Herod.

And again, after the events of her Son's hidden and public life, events which she must have shared with acute sensitivity, it was on Calvary that Mary's suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which was mysterious and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world. Her ascent of Calvary and her standing at the foot of the Cross together with the Beloved Disciple were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming death of her Son. And the words which she heard from his lips were a kind of solemn handing-over of this Gospel of suffering so that it could be proclaimed to the whole community of believers.

As a witness to her Son's Passion by her presence, and as a sharer in it by her compassion, Mary offered a unique contribution to the Gospel of suffering, by embodying in anticipation the expression of Saint Paul which was quoted at the beginning. She truly has a special title to be able to claim that she "completes in her flesh"—as already in her heart—"what is lacking in Christ's afflictions ". 

In the light of the unmatchable example of Christ, reflected with singular clarity in the life of his Mother, the Gospel of suffering, through the experience and words of the Apostles, becomes an inexhaustible source for the ever new generations that succeed one another in the history of the Church. The Gospel of suffering signifies not only the presence of suffering in the Gospel, as one of the themes of the Good News, but also the revelation of the salvific power and salvific significance of suffering in Christ's messianic mission and, subsequently, in the mission and vocation of the Church.

This is not all: the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed. As though by a continuation of that motherhood which by the power of the Holy Spirit had given him life, the dying Christ conferred upon the ever Virgin Mary a new kind of motherhood—spiritual and universal—towards all human beings, so that every individual, during the pilgrimage of faith, might remain, together with her, closely united to him unto the Cross, and so that every form of suffering, given fresh life by the power of this Cross, should become no longer the weakness of man but the power of God. (Pope St. John Paul II; Salvifici doloris)

Musical Selection (Jared Fortune)

Out of the whirlwind God can speak When we’re searching For what this pain all means Though we’re uncertain of God’s schemes May we not curse him But instead to see he’s 
Keeping promises to never leave Or forsake us, Lord, make us believe Forgive our unbelief You keep your promises to never leave Or forsake us, Lord, make us believe He answers unbelief 
Were you there at the start? Have you walked in the deep? Did you establish the stars? Did you close in the sea? 

Can you enlighten the heart? Is the sky in your reach? Did you put light in the dark? Are you equal with me?


O God, who in this season
give your Church the grace
to imitate devoutly the Blessed Virgin Mary
in contemplating the Passion of Christ,
grant, we pray, through her intercession,
that we may cling more firmly each day
to your Only Begotten Son
and come at last to the fullness of his grace.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Roman Missal)