From: John ZuHone
One of the books of the Bible that leaves people scratching their heads is Ecclesiastes. In today’s OT reading, we find these words:
"For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun… Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days… Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going."
What a bummer. How does that fit with our message that Jesus is Lord, and that through him God is reconciling all things and making all things new? But who among us hasn’t felt this exact same way when things get rough? By preserving these words in Scripture, God is saying, "I understand your doubts, and I want you to know that you’re not alone."
In today’s NT reading, St. Paul answers a specific doubt with these words:
"I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Or don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he pleads with God against Israel? 'Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and they are trying to take my life!' But what was God’s answer to him? 'I have left seven thousand for myself who have not bowed down to Baal.'"
When things look bleak, God reminds us that he’s in control, and that in the end, sin and death do not have the final say, because Jesus has been through the worst that they could dish out and has made it through to the other side victorious.
I’m an astrophysicist at the Harvard Observatory, studying galaxy clusters and X-ray astronomy. I enjoy spending time with my wife, having good conversation with friends, reading books, and playing the occasional Mario game.