Grace to you!
Many of us are familiar with the biblical story of Job. Perhaps, we learned it in school right from when we were in grade two or three.
Job’s name was synonymous with suffering. We read the story of how he lost his entire family and suffered from leprosy. We learned how his wife cursed him out and bid him to curse God and die. We also learned how no one seemed to show him sympathy, including his closest friends who accused him of having committed something evil and hence evil has come upon him. We read about how Job was a victim of a bait between God and Satan, where Satan was to try him by all means, but not touch his life.
There are many plots in the entire story. It could make for a good movie. For the most part, Job’s story stirs many emotions—sadness, gloominess, disappointment and anger. We question the justice of God. We feel frustrated why a just man like Job should suffer so much.
We read that story and may believe it was about an event thousands of years ago. Little do we pause and ask: ‘By the way, who is Job today?’
Job is you or anyone you know who has suffered so much even though there is no blame on his or her part for the suffering. Job is anyone who is passing the dark night experiences where it seems there is no more hope. Job is anyone whose night is so long, sleep can’t come because the mind is burdened with worries, anxieties and pain. “The night is long, and I am full of tossing till the dawn” (Job 7:4).
Job is you when suffering seems to break you and you wonder what this life is all about. Why would God allow me to suffer this much? Why is God far away from me? At least so it seems. Despite all I have done to do things right, why is so much disappointment and terrible things coming my way?
Job is, indeed, anyone who needs a savior. Job is the right candidate for the Redeemer to appear. Job reveals the mystery and paradox of suffering.
Notice what happens when the Savior comes. He goes about doing good (Acts 10:38) and preaching the Good News, healing those sick and suffering and driving out demons. He says, “For this purpose have I come” (Mk 1:38).
The Lord comes for Job. He comes for you and me. He comes so that Job may find the revealing power of God amidst suffering. The Savior comes that Job may hear the good news of God’s saving grace and see in suffering the redemptive work of God. What the story of Job tells is what the Savior rectifies—suffering has a new outlook; it finds a saving grace in Christ.
We realize we suffer not because God is unjust; or that we are rich and enjoy the blessings of the earth because we are just—a dose of lesson for prosperity gospel preachers. It simply reveals to us that all things are towards the revelation of God. Suffering has meaning beyond the pain we face right now. Again, we are not necessarily wealthy and healthy because we are righteous; just like we do not necessarily suffer because we are unjust.
We preach the gospel. The gospel is the victory won on the cross. St. Paul says, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). In another place he says, the gospel we preach is Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23). There are lots of meanings to unpack from all these.
Here is another way Scripture says it: “By his wounds we are healed” (Is 55:5; 1 Pet 2:24).
In another place it says, “They shall look upon the one whom they have pierced” (Zech 12:10; Jn 19:37).
It is from the Job experience; that is, taking the cross and following Jesus, that the healing grace and fervor of evangelization flows. From the pain of the cross we reach the gain of the resurrection.
Do you want to be a healing, passionate witness of the gospel of Christ? Have you witnessed Job in your life? Have you borne the mark of the cross?
Praying that God will give us grace in the crosses that come our way. Amen.
May healing flowing from the wounded side of Jesus flow through your life and your situation. Amen. Afterall, your Job experience is not a desperate case. The dawn of glory has come.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Sunday Week 5: JB 7:1-4, 6-7; 1Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.