Job 3:1-3,11-17,20-23, Psalm 88:2-8, Luke 9:51-56
“Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54)
Jesus set out for Jerusalem and going through the Samaritan town would have been a easier and faster route but the Samaritans would not receive Jesus. In the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well, the woman, being a Samaritan, considered it shocking that Jesus, a Jew, would dare to ask her for water.
In those days, Jews had no business with Samaritans. Hence, the action of the Good Samaritan who stopped to take care of the man left for dead is worthy of commendation. This good Samaritan broke every protocol; he stopped to help an “enemy” at the point of death. In today’s Gospel passage, the Samaritans showed their true colours when they rejected Jesus.
Whether we like it or not, as the book of Job teaches us, there are always going to be sad moments in our lives. Even if we are good and sinless, tough times would come. Job’s worst fears came to pass despite his prayers and constant sacrifices. Who would have assumed that despite the goodness and holiness of Jesus, a group of people would reject him? The fact that you are good does not prevent you from being hurt by bad people.
We can never control the behaviour of others (it is a free world), we can only control how we react to them. To a large extent, we cannot control the daily occurrences of our lives but we can always control how we react towards them. We may have done everything right or made the best efforts humanly speaking, yet things turn out differently from our expectations.
Moments like these tend to provoke anger as we saw in James and John in today’s Gospel passage. They wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn Jesus’ adversaries just as we love to do to our enemies (those who make life difficult for us). To prove that God does not answer such prayers, Jesus rebuked James and John; He scolded them for attempted to use Divine Power for evil.
Can you imagine what our world would look like if God answered such prayers? Be careful of the type of prayer you utter when you are angry. Avoid the error of James and John. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus gave us an example by praying for forgiveness (not consuming fire) for those who killed him.
This encounter also teaches us that God never forces his way on anyone. By rebuking James and John, Jesus was teaching us that every human being has a right to reject the faith. When sending out the twelve, Jesus told them that anyone who rejects them, they should wipe off the dust from their feet and move on to the next town.
Are you feeling really down? Does it seem as if your world is collapsing on itself? Why not borrow the words of our Psalmist today. Consider also the prayer of Job in today’s first reading. His wife told him to curse God and just end it all but Job chose to curse the day he was born. As we heard in the concluding part of yesterday’s reading, Job never blamed God for his misfortunes. Job was never angry with God. No matter how bad things are for you, you will always have every reason to praise God.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, cleanse my heart from anger and give me the grace to watch my tongue when things do not go as I expect. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Job 3:1-3,11-17,20-23, Psalm 88:2-8, Luke 9:51-56).
Fr. Abu Evaristus