Read Job 1:6-22, Psalm 17:1-7, Luke 9:46-50

“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; 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.” (Job 1:21-22)

In today’s Gospel passage, the disciples of Jesus obviously carried away by pride, begin to argue among themselves which of them was the greatest. If you agree with me, this is where fights begin among men of God. From arguments about who has more anointing, who is holier, more educated or most qualified for the office of bishop etc., we start to see hatred, backbiting and all kinds of vile practices among fellow shepherds of the same vineyard of God. 

Jesus knew what the disciples were thinking and decided to teach them a lesson in humility – he brought a child to their midst and said: “Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me… for the least among you all, that is the greatest.” If only we men of God reflect deeply on this statement of Jesus, we would love ourselves more and not allow our petty squabbles eat us up. 

John spoke up: “We saw a casting out devils in your name, and because he is not with us, we tried to stop him.” This is another common crime among us men of God. We think that just because we are ordained, we alone are bearers of Divine gifts; that we alone have what it takes to lead the people of God or that we alone can heal or cast out devils. We forget that God often chooses what is weak in the world to shame the proud. Jesus told the disciples: “You must not stop him; anyone who is not against you is for you.” 

Our first reading today comes from the first chapter of the book of Job. Bear in mind that, just like the first few chapters of Genesis, the book Job is a theological work. We should not be so concerned about the story itself but the message it conveys. What is this message? That bad things also happen to very good people. The fact that you are holy and sinless does not make you immune to unfortunate circumstances but when such painful moments come, your attitude should be that of Job. 

When all the bad news came, Job went down on his knees and he WORSHIPPED God. It is not easy to worship God; to praise Him, to give Him glory when calamity strikes but, just like Paul and Silas in prison, this is the best thing to do in such moments. Our first reading concludes: “In all of this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job’s secret was his deep-seated humility. 

Even though Job was rich, he never forgot his humble beginning; he never forgot that he brought nothing to this world, that his very life is God’s gift. Job said: “naked I came, naked I shall return… the Lord gave, the Lord has taken.” No matter how powerful or rich we have become (as lay persons or priests), let us never forget we brought nothing to this world. _We are nothing but pencils in the hands of the creator._   

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, cleanse my heart of pride and free me from undue attachment to material riches. Through Christ our Lord. Amen 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Job 1:6-22, Psalm 17:1-7, Luke 9:46-50).

Fr. Abu Evaristus