Bl Columba Marmion, priest (opt. Memorial)
Then Job answered the Lord:
"I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes."
The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children's children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.
Teach me discernment and knowledge
for I trust in your commands.
It was good for me to be afflicted,
to learn your statutes. (R./)
Lord, I know that your decrees are right,
that you afflicted me justly.
By your decree the earth endures to this day;
for all things serve you. (R./)
I am your servant, make me understand;
then I shall know your will.
The unfolding of your word gives light
and teaches the simple. (R./)
The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."
It baffles us that someone as good as Job repents in dust and ashes. But he was humbled by his sense of God's overpowering presence. He had presumed to question God, as though he were God's equal, but now he disowns his complaints as foolish and repents in dust and ashes.
The end of Job's story inspires us to a similar humility before God. If we follow Job's example, we will be blessed like him.
Today's gospel gives a rare glimpse into the joy-filled prayer of Jesus himself. The Evangelists, especially Luke, say that Jesus often prayed, but seldom tell us what he prayed about. Here he says his prayer aloud, opening his mind to us. Filled with spiritual joy, he thanks his Abba/Father that "what you have hidden from the learned and the clever, you have revealed to little children." We can only hope to remain open to divine wisdom, in a child-like spirit of gratitude.
It is natural to take pride in our work, especially if we have done it well. Just look at the disciples in today's gospel. They return to Jesus from successful mission. It went so well that "even demons submit to us when we use your name." He praises their success, but asks them to focus on something more fundamental. They should rejoice not so much for tangible success but for the fact that their names are "written in heaven."
Our relationship with God can give us real joy. It is that special gift of grace that gifes us peace. We can identify with the disciples when Jesus tells them, "Happy the eyes that see what you see." They recognised the presence of God in the person of Jesus and in his love for them. That is why they can rejoice.
Having a share in Jesus' relationship with God is a precious gift. It lets us us see and hear what faithful people in the Old Testament longed to see and hear, and it is the bedrock of Christian happiness. Even when our working life is over and there is little more we can do, it's all worthwhile because of our ongoing relationship with our heavenly Father.