01.1.1 Ultimate Thursday – Twelve Days of Ghosts

Scripture and homily in brief for the Ultimate Thursday of the Ghosts dozenal of All Hallows season.

Job 4:12-21

12 Now a word came stealing to me — my ear received the whisper of it
13 amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals
14 dread came upon me, and trembling which made all my bones shake
15 A spirit glided past my face — the hair of my flesh bristled
16 It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice:
17 “Can mortals be more righteous before God? Can humans be more pure than their Maker?
18 Even in his servants He puts no trust, and His angels He charges with error;
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like a moth.
20 Between morning and evening they are destroyed; they perish for ever without any regarding it.
21 Their tent-cord is plucked up within them, and they die devoid of Wisdom.”

Homily in Brief

The opening of the liturgical year evokes a key theme of genuine Christianity: facing fear and death on the path to revelation and redemption.  In the lead-up to the secularized holiday of Halloween, the Eve of All Hallows Day, we join the playful celebration of spookiness as a way of easing into the hard lessons of salvation through suffering.

In Eliphaz’s speech from Job we have a biblical ghost story, a visit from a spirit who reminds us that we are all mortal and must die.