June 24, 2021
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
From one of the most intriguing books found in the Scriptural literature of the World, we read in the Book of Job: “God spoke out of the storm!” (Job 38:1). I find this verse to be deeply consoling. I long to hear what God might say, especially in the midst of the storm. The truth is our cultural, political, and daily lives have been storm tossed for a long time now. In troubled times, we seek a word of comfort. Pandemic, political uncertainty, economic instability, corruption in the highest levels of leadership contribute to the unease so many feel. We wonder what God might say. Perhaps it is time to discern what God is saying.
God spoke out of the storm in a moment when Job had every right to feel he was a victim of circumstances, a plaything of dispute, and powerless in the face of it all. Throughout the Book of Job, Job defends his righteousness, accepts his plight, and hopes for the better. He courageously engaged the storm until a voice spoke. The answer Job received does not exactly solve the mystery of evil and sorrow in the World. Unlike Job, I am not content with the platitudes concluding the Book of Job. I want more. Inspired by Job’s tenacity, I seek to know more than what he settled for in his encounter with the divine. I invite you not to be afraid of your curiosity. Fear not to question. Challenge that which does not make sense to you. Engage the Scripture with your doubts and fears. Seize the moment to wrestle with the divine. Faith in the last analysis is courage.
The desire to know more, to seek some meaning in the chaos of life, is not arrogance or the lack of humility. It is the willingness to respond to our circumstances not as hapless victims but bold people of faith and courage. One lesson looms large.
In the Gospel of St. Mark, a foundational text in the New Testament Traditions, we read Jesus crossed Lake Galilee in the midst of the storm (Mark4: 35-41). The disciples of Jesus were terrified as Jesus was sleeping on a pillow. He found his calm in the expectation of encountering and meeting the people on the other side of the Lake. The life of Jesus, like so many sages, was a pilgrimage from one place to another. The journey was actually from one person to another. It takes great courage to journey across the troubled waters of life in a time of storm and uncertainty. Sometimes we rather hear rumors about other people than actually meet them. Jesus goes where the prejudice of the day would tell him to avoid. He becomes a voice in the storm.
All too often, I seek the voice of God in the storm, forgetting I have the capacity to be the voice of God speaking in the moment of another person’s plight. Sometimes I am afraid to meet another person because I fear I have nothing to say. I forget my presence speaks louder than words. Perhaps God “spoke out of the storm” not simply with words but presence. Jesus was not afraid to meet another person who might be God’s presence to him.
Thank you, Holy Community, for speaking out with your presence. Blessings to you for all the times you welcomed others into your space, your heart, your life. As the storms of life continue to ebb and flow, let us not forget to hold on to one another with love, compassion, and deep respect.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: