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 to Jesus, 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's baffling that a person as good as Job must "repent in dust and ashes". But he was humbled by an awareness of God's mighty, transcendent presence. He had presumed to question God, as though he, Job, were a divine colleague, but now he disowns his words as mere folly and repents in dust and ashes. The conclusion to the Book of Job is a strong call to a spirit of humility before God. If we follow Job's example, we will be blessed like him.
Today's gospel allows us a rare glimpse into the deepest of all mysteries, the joy-filled prayer of Jesus himself. The Evangelists, especially Luke, frequently enough speak of Jesus at prayer, but seldom offer more than a reverent silence around such moments. Here he speaks his prayer aloud, overcome by a hidden power. Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, he thanks the Father that "what you have hidden from the learned and the clever, you have revealed to merest children." We can only hope to remain so grateful in the midst of any success we may achieve, even in our teaching of religion.
It is natural to take pride in our work, especially if we feel that we have done it well. That is what we find the disciples doing in today's gospel. They return to Jesus from a period of successful mission. In their excitement they tell him, "even the devils submit to us when we use your name." He acknowledges the success of their work, yet he focuses on something more fundamental, inviting them to rejoice not so much in the success of their work but in the fact that their names are written in heaven.
Our relationship with God can be the deepest source of our joy. It is that relationship which makes our work fruitful. That is why Jesus goes on to tell them, "Happy the eyes that see what you see." The disciples had come to see and hear the presence of God in the person of Jesus; they had received the revelation of his own relationship with God his Father and had let themselves be drawn into that relationship. That is why they can rejoice.
This gospel reminds us that our own sharing in Jesus' relationship with God is our real treasure, not so much the success or otherwise of what we do. It is that gift of sharing in Jesus' relationship with God his Father that allows us to see and hear what many prophets and kings longed to see and hear, and is the real cause for joy and thanksgiving. Even when our work ceases, for whatever reason, be it age or poor health or lack of opportunity, that gift of sharing in Jesus' own relationship with God endures.