bible blog 256

This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church

Reading 1

Job 19:21-27

Job said:

Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,

for the hand of God has struck me!

Why do you hound me as though you were divine,

and insatiably prey upon me?

Oh, would that my words were written down!

Would that they were inscribed in a record:

That with an iron chisel and with lead

they were cut in the rock forever!

But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,

A leap beyond death

and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;

Whom I myself shall see:

my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,

And from my flesh I shall see God;

my inmost being is consumed with longing.

Verses 25-27 are amongst the most disputed in the bible. The original Hebrew text is uncertain and successive editors and scholars have made wild attempts to make sense of it. The translator of the Vulgate, the Latin Bible, Jerome, crucially turned “from my flesh” into “In my flesh” making the words a prophecy of resurrection. They are definitely not. Job looks to a “vindicator” (The Hebrew word refers to a family member who will act in one’s name after one’s death). This, for him, is God himself, who will declare him free of the sin of which his comforters have assumed him to be guilty. Job’s desire for justice leaps beyond death towards the God whom he trusts will proclaim his integrity. Somehow, although dead, and maybe in the underworld, he will see God. He will not have to rely on the testimony of others like Moses, who saw God. His own eyes will be satisfied. God cannot be God unless he vindicates his servant. This is a passionately expressed faith that God is just. A Christian faith may be more, but it must not be less than Job’s faith.

Luke 10:1-12

Gospel

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.

He said to them,”The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest

to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say,

‘Peace to this household.’

If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another.

Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.

For Jesus, God’s surprising justice is expressed in his ruling activity in the world, that is, in his kingdom. The picture of a great harvest with few to gather it shows that God rules only through those who are ready to do his will. The rule of God is universal but it manifests itself in the mission of a few Galilean peasants, who are to announce God’s rule, heal the sick, and keep moving. There is brusqueness about the mission which shows its divine origin. God does not bandy words.

with no spare shoes

This is the way our Vindicator comes: no trumpets, no media, no glamour, no tricks of persuasion, no popes, cardinals, miracle –workers or tele-evangelists; just the people with no spare shoes standing in the dust, the announcement that God rules in Jesus, and the readiness to care for broken bodies and souls.

2 comments

  1. Do you think healing the sick back then, as Jesus is talking about it here, was an act of the miraculous, or was it rather how we would understand it today in the context of modern medicine?
    In other words, I wonder if your suggestion that the Vindicator comes not with workers of miracles is altogether true. In Acts I seem to remember many times the word being confirmed by signs and wonders.

  2. I’m glad Jeff you’re keeping me in line! Yes, I think that true healing was (and is) miraculous. The deeds of Jesus and the disciples are signs and wonders. I confused the issue by using the term “miracle-workers” by which I meant the snake- oil -gospel -salesmen who perform dishonest healings in public, for applause and power.

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