Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
A Young Man came to the Old Man seeking counsel. “I broke something, Old Man.” “How badly is it broken?” “Into a million little pieces.” “I’m afraid I can’t help you.” “Why not?” “There is nothing I can do.” “Why can’t it be fixed?” “Because it’s broken beyond repair. It’s in a million little pieces.” Doesn’t that sound like what Job says in today’s first reading when his life was broken into a million little pieces? But today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39), gives us the assurance and proof that nothing in our lives is beyond repair for Jesus, the healing savior.
Job’s detailed account of the miseries of human existence contrasts with Jesus’ work of healing as described in the Gospel. In Job’s account, he claims that the entire human condition is sad and hopeless, and he compares himself to a farm laborer who is forced to do degrading work for wages that barely keep him alive and who yearns for relief from the scorching sun. There is no peace, Job says, even in sleep! Instead, there is only a restless expectation of a return to toil at dawn. But continued suffering, monotony and isolation make Job aware of the emptiness of life without God and the hope of ultimate union with God. We learn from this reading that God listens to every human cry, even to the anger and dismay of the lament. We also learn that there is no struggle so great, no suffering so intense that it cannot be surrendered with confidence into God’s capable, powerful hands. Of course, Job is right. Left to our own resources, we cannot escape the ultimate meaninglessness of life. Fleeting joys are obliterated by suffering and inevitable death. We are reassured by Faith, however that God gives life a purpose. He permits pain in order to serve His saving will and to teach us to appreciate His gift of Life to the fullest. The Good News we proclaim is that, through the death and Resurrection of Jesus, God has joined us to Himself, now and forever. Job eventually realizes that those who choose to give themselves to God will find that life has meaning. And eventually Job surrenders himself, his suffering, his work, and everything he had and lost to the greater wisdom of God.
There is this story about two elderly couples. The elderly man who was quite ill said to his wife, “You know, Sarah, you’ve always been with me – through the good and the bad. Like the time I lost my job – you were right there by my side. And when the war came, and I enlisted – you became a nurse so that you could be with me. Then I was wounded, and you were there, Sarah, right by my side. Then the Depression hit, and we had nothing – but you were there with me. And now here I am, sick as a dog, and, as always, you’re right beside me. You know something, Sarah — you’re a jinx! You always bring me bad luck!” There is a part of us that is tempted to look for somebody to blame for all the things that go wrong in our lives. More often than not, we blame the very people we once looked up to for an answer. Jesus was a man for others, sharing what he had with others. In his life there was time for prayer, time for healing and time for reconciliation. Let us take up this challenge by sharing love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness with others. Instead of considering life as dull and boring let us live our lives as Jesus did, full of dynamism and zeal for the glory of God.
God Bless You,