ARE YOU A JOB? 5th Sunday in Ordinary time, Year B
Many human experiences lead to questions of meaning. For answers to life’s questions we have to turn to the Lord. A knowledge of faith from the Scriptures and teachings of the Church are great helps toward knowing how to live and gives us insights into the mysteries of human life as well as the mysteries of God’s life.
The Scriptures are about God’s life and human life. Some Scriptures reflect large chunks of human life. This set of Scriptures are among them!
Job is not an historical figure. He is a composite of every person reflecting the lot of humans in many ways. Everyone at some time or another sees life or some work in life as a drudgery. Everyone at some time or another sees him or herself, or actually is, a hireling who longs for the shade and waits for payday. Everyone at some time or another has months of misery and troubled nights, which can threaten hope. Everyone at some time or another considers their life as moving too fast. We can identify in some ways with Job’s words. “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings who wait for their wages? So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me… My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.”
The words of Job sound very discouraging, as some of life’s experiences can be. The answer is to be with the Lord. Human life cannot be fully lived apart from life with God. Nor can life be understood apart from the Lord.
Human experiences such as described in the book of Job can help us know the need for the Lord, and our dependence on the Lord. They can also lead to the experience of the Lord in our life. The psalm reminds us of God’s saving power. “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds…Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to His wisdom there is no limit.” The Lord can draw good from suffering experiences.
Praising the Lord is a help in living human life. Keeping our faith vision on eternal life helps us to do the work of this life. In the midst of Job like experiences it’s important to go about doing what we are called to do. Not to do so is to invite not just drudgery, longing for a break, and times of misery, but times of ruin. Paul, who had a number of Job like experiences, continued his major work of preaching the Gospel. He said not to do so would be ruin for him. “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason to boast, for an obligation has been placed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” Like Paul many carry out their life work in the midst of Job like experiences, which bring hope and fulfillment in life, and affect the lives and good of others. “All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.”
Besides the normal drudgery, fatigue from work, and maintaining human life, much of life is taken up with sicknesses and weaknesses of our own or others, and the care of the sick. We are all affected by what happens to others on different levels. The various physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual addictions of others make demands on us.
In His earthly life and ministry, Jesus had many experiences with the sufferings of people. “When it was evening, after sunset, they brought Him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door.” That indicates how extensive are the Job experiences of human life.
To give hope, life, deliverance and healing to human life is one of the major reasons Jesus came. These preoccupations and needs of people placed demands on Him. His major response was healing and prayer, and proclaiming the Good News of God’s reign. That news helps people deal with suffering Job like experiences.
Job like experiences will only be totally overcome in resurrection. In this life they need to be responded to with faith and hope in the Lord, and prayer. Looked at through the eyes of faith, they are opportunities for us to grow in love and participate in the mystery of the Lord’s suffering and death, which lead to resurrection!
Job describes the human life Jesus saves!