This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church
Job 3: 1-23 (some verses omitted by the Lectionary)
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:
Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”
Why did I not perish at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth,
like babes that have never seen the light?
Wherefore did the knees receive me?
or why did I suck at the breasts?
For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
had I slept, I should then have been at rest
With kings and counselors of the earth
who built where now there are ruins
Or with princes who had gold
and filled their houses with silver.
There the wicked cease from troubling,
there the weary are at rest.
Why is light given to the toilers,
and life to the bitter in spirit?
They wait for death and it comes not;
they search for it rather than for hidden treasures,
Rejoice in it exultingly,
and are glad when they reach the grave:
Those whose path is hidden from them,
and whom God has hemmed in!
One day Job is a well-to-do respected man who obeys the commandments of God, the next he is mourning the loss of his family, wealth and health. The idea that God has done this because he (God) is being tested by the Satan, is one that we’d like to think of as a literary device rather than a theological truth. The bitterness evident in Job’s tirades and his refusal of pious comfort, displays a view of life which must often be held by the poor of the earth. The beauty of Job is that he tells it like it is, assigning the responsibility to God and allowing Him no excuses. If he is God, the Creator of the world, He has to accept responsibility for the way it is. As we shall see, God honours his critic more than those who want to palm him off with dubious theology. Today we should pray hard for the millions of our fellow human beings who would welcome death.
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.
For Jesus, the way of the cross lies ahead, as the way the Father has asked him to go for the deliverance of the world from evil. It is precisely not the way that messianic Jews want their Messiah to go. He should smite the wicked in the name of God, which is exactly what James and John want to do to the sectarian Samaritans. Jesus must have sighed wearily at the hopeless misunderstanding of God’s way shown by his disciples. If the churches of Jesus had always shown his forbearance when faced with sectarian bitterness, their witness to him would have more genuine that it has been. The religious history of Scotland, my own country is disfigured by acts of hatred by all churches which have bad consequences even today. The people who carried these out had not fully considered the meaning of the little story.