God in the Wilderness

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

First Reading: Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5

The LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said:

Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning
and shown the dawn its place
For taking hold of the ends of the earth,
till the wicked are shaken from its surface?
The earth is changed as is clay by the seal,
and dyed as though it were a garment;
But from the wicked the light is withheld,
and the arm of pride is shattered.

Have you entered into the sources of the sea,
or walked about in the depths of the abyss?
Have the gates of death been shown to you,
or have you seen the gates of darkness?
Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all:
Which is the way to the dwelling place of light,
and where is the abode of darkness,
That you may take them to their boundaries
and set them on their homeward paths?
You know, because you were born before them,
and the number of your years is great!

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again;
though twice, I will do so no more.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14AB

R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Gospel: Luke 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”



I’ve never really had a deep understanding of the God of Wrath we see in today’s readings. Even images of God exhibiting power, like that famous mosaic in the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, unsettle me. So today’s readings really left me at a loss. How do I process a Jesus with words of condemnation or the words of God to Job?

I reached out to my sister Blessed is She writers for help. One of the women responded jokingly with a series of emoji: waves, lightening, fire, wind. I realized this is exactly how I could begin to understand. God asked Job to look at the glory and power of creation and to understand the human smallness in the midst of it.

My parents raised me with a deep love and respect of nature. Together, we played in the waves of the beautiful ocean and the Great Lakes. We watched storms roll in on summer nights. We built bonfires and roasted s’mores. But all of these were tempered by the awe and fear that we needed to understand our world.

We were reminded of riptide as we played on the beach. We sheltered in the basement when the midwestern storms got too wild. We never got too close the flames and made sure that the fire was tamped down before retreating to our tents. None of these boundaries kept us from a enjoying the outdoors— they actually helped us appreciate the gifts of creation even more.

Likewise, our awe and fear of the Lord help us to appreciate His deep love for us even more. This all-powerful God has chosen to love us, to show us mercy, to embrace us gently.

Our awe and fear of the Lord help us to appreciate His deep love for us even more. // @br1gid Click To Tweet

Appreciate God’s power through the natural world today. Take time outdoors to look to creation and see His beauty, glory, and love for you.

Brigid Hogan loves the view of the Washington Monument from her apartment, her standing desk, the Green Bay Packers, and a good mystery. She tolerates taking the Metro to the office, where she works as a communications consultant. You can find out more about her here.

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