Jb 1:6-22; Ps 17:1-3,6,7; Lk 9:46-50
The LORD tests the hearts of his saints, searching in the night and trying them with fire. There is no malice in the hearts of those who love the LORD; there is no anger at the LORD nor at those who do not show the poor any compassion. The saints call upon the Name of the LORD and he answers them; the LORD inclines his ear to them. The poor in spirit are blessed to behold the wondrous mercies of a Savior of those who flee from their foes to refuge at his right hand. Holy Job brings his just suit before the LORD and finds refuge in the wondrous mercies of his Savior. In his humility the New Job, the Lord Jesus Christ is poor in spirit, and from the totally emptiness of the Cross he fills us with costly grace.
Angels abound in the heavenly courts, even the fallen angel Satan is present before the Divine Majesty. This rebellious angel seeks to provoke rebellion in the heart of Holy Job, but the LORD’s servant never rebels. Instead, Job blesses the name of the LORD. “In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.” Would we be so humble? Would we not instead curse the name of the LORD? What kind of suffering would provoke anger and cursing? Would loosing in the stock market? Would the death of all your children? What about a terrorist attack? What about a devastating flood? It takes a great gift of humility to respond the way Holy Job responded. Such humility is available only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only by carrying our cross every day can we bless the Name of the LORD ceaselessly. It is the New Job who enables us to move from cursing to blessing in the midst of the mystery of suffering. Only the Lord Jesus can move us beyond our natural reactions and urges. His love alone is adequate to cloth our naked pain with the glory of his self-sacrifice that rescues us from the emptiness of mere pain and transforms it into redemptive suffering.
As Saint Luke reflects in today’s gospel, true greatness is to recognize the true value of human dignity even in the child. The law did not give children the full stature of personhood; children back then were not fully human beings. In the eyes of God and in the teaching of the Lord Jesus their human worth is recognized and held up as a reminder that all human dignity is a gift given by God from the very first moment of life. To emphasize this even more the Lord Jesus tells Saint John not to prevent anyone from casting out demons in his name. Even though the stranger does not belong to the fellowship of the disciples, he joins them in spirit and truth by sharing the mission of the Lord Jesus. By casting out demons and healing the sick many, not of our company, is for us not against us. Both children and even good pagans are held up as examples of the faithfulness and justice of our God. To this Eucharist we come, estranged by our sin and dependent in our childlikeness, to receive the gift of our true greatness—unity with, in, and through, Christ Jesus, our Lord and God. Unity with Holy Job and Saint Vincent de Paul who knew the blessed Savior and followed the Humble Master from death to self and abundant life through Him, with Him and in Him.