01Oct 01 Oct. Monday of Week Twenty Six

Job 1:6ff. Satan tests Job, first with loss of property and then with the death of his children.

Luke 9:46ff. With the example of a little child Jesus declares the least to be the greatest.

Dealing with the Unbearable

Children appear in our first passage from the Book of Job, and here our discussion moves in another direction. We are reading from the prose prologue, which with the epilog at the end, forms the context for the dramatic dialogue within the central part of the book. This prose section turns out to be the most ancient part and belonged to the patrimony of the Near East. We meet the somewhat naive situation in which Satan shows up in the heavenly throne room and argues with God about justice in the human family. God permits Satan to test Job, destroying first his property and then taking the lives of his sons and daughters. Job is alone, totally alone. His wife appears later in the narrative but is hardly any consolation. Alone, yes; but alone with God. “Naked I came out from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Children make us ponder the mysterious source of life. As adults, we cannot control life as though we were God. At the same time we do not act solely on instinct, like animals. We must think and consider all of the responsibilities of life. Yet, there must also remain a secret part of life which belongs solely to God. Not only in the process of conception, pregnancy and birth, but also in many other important moments of our existence, we do our best when we follow intuitions or inspirations which take even ourselves by surprise.

Children quarrel, yes, but they quickly make up again. The gospel presents us with two scenes of envy and pettiness. The disciples were arguing, “which of them was the greatest.” Jesus turns to children and says to welcome a child is to welcome him, and “The least one among you is the greatest.” This statement is all the more puzzling if it includes Jesus. Is he the least? He is, supremely, the child of his Father, always in the attitude of receiving the Father’s life and as a child he is receiving it totally.

First Reading: Job 1:6-22

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from? Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshipped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, an naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong-doing.

Gospel: Luke 9:46-50

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”

One Response

  1. Kevin

    “Not only in the process of conception, pregnancy and birth, but also in many other important moments of our existence, we do our best when we follow intuitions or inspirations which take even ourselves by surprise.”

    Not comparing myself to Job here at all. But this statement resonates. Considering where I was – even here not so long ago. I am not rightly sure where I am yet myself – but seem to be on the way to a greater peace since following intuitions and/or inspirations of my own of late.

    I spoke about the inability to find myself able to trust again on varying levels and how this impacted Sacramental life – sharing in this, or not.

    I am not sure what this inner whatever it is really is – the ‘intuitions/inspirations’ – but I took a leap of faith, for want of a better term, and it seems to be paying off. I had an ‘inspiration/intuition’ when I was sincerely asking for help, understanding with something, and I acted on what I felt in my heart. It terrified me at a point and in that fear again I asked for some sense of direction – that I had done the ‘right thing’. I felt a peace come upon me again.

    Like that sea of mistrust and all that comes of it is being swept away. Not all at once but moment by moment – as I make a choice for peace in each moment. Prayer.

    I don’t know if it’s the ‘better way’ – charity. I hope so. Or maybe just completely lost the plot. :) But it brings peace. And sharing wholly in the Sacramental life of the Church again is seeming to be a source of peace – of life again too. I am the Vine – you are the branches.

    I can’t explain this. Maybe I need lobotomised or ECT therapy or something.

    I don’t know about who is what, where, when or how. I am not saying anyone should think, do, believe whatever.

    One outcome in all of this has been a completely different attitude towards priests themselves.

    I don’t know about a liberal, traditional or any other variation. I can be all over the map with that myself – paradox.

    You are brothers to me now, again perhaps – one and all – whatever side of whatever fence you seem to sit. As human beings – and in your priesthood too.

    You would have to know what has passed through me at times to realise the import of this.

    God is Good.

    Might have no relation to any of the subject material above. I like to read these however and have not been here for a while.

    Just letting you know.

    If something like this can happen to someone like me. Never give up hope. 😉

    Faith, hope and Love – and the greatest of these is Love.

    Oh, and it’s Oct 1st too. Nice birthday gift. Thank you Lord – Prince of Peace. May we all know the way of peace in our hearts.

    Make for peace.

    God bless us all.


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