Pride and presumption are insidious sins. They make any kind of grace impossible, for they even deny that grace is needed or wanted. If we have no need of a Savior, then no relationship with God is even possible. And not having a relationship with God is something that theologians like to call “hell.” So the disciple doesn’t get to harbor pride and doesn’t get to presume that God will take care of her or him. Instead the disciple must be very mindful of God, and must constantly nurture the relationship in such a way that they are caught up in the very life of God.
Job needed a little reminder. Things were getting very bad for him, and he takes God to task on it. But today’s first reading shows us God, in his loving mercy, giving Job the proverbial slap in the back of the head. Does Job know the source of the sea, or has he comprehended the breadth of the earth? Does he know where light and darkness come from? No, of course not. Job doesn’t have the big picture and we don’t either. That’s something we have to remember when times are bad, as they are bad for many people right now.
And the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida needed to be taken down a peg or two as well. They were totally unmindful of God, and they refused to repent. Which is inconceivable given the mighty deeds Jesus had been doing among them. Even a ton of bricks falling on them wouldn’t seem to get them to repent. Jesus calls them to task on it, and calls us too when we are so presumptuous of God’s mercy and favor that we refuse to repent of the things that separate us from God.
The disciple is called to humbly place himself or herself in God’s mercy, acknowledging dependence on a Savior who has loved us into existence and sustains those who follow him. The disciple shuns pride and presumption, and humbly prays with the Psalmist, “Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.”