Jb 42:1-3;5,6;12-17 ; Ps 119:66,71,75,91,125,130; Lk 10:17-24
Only when the LORD lets his face shine upon us do we gain understanding. The LORD loves the simple hearts; his face shines upon those whom he loves. We rely upon the LORD to teach us wisdom, and we grow in knowledge when we trust in his commands. We can even rejoice in our afflictions because we have learned his statutes. Indeed, we know that the ordinances of the LORD are just and in his faithfulness we have been afflicted. In accord with his ordinances we stand firm; we learn how to serve the LORD who made heaven and earth. We are his servants, and he gives us discernment that we may know his decrees and learn how to apply them to our daily struggles. Indeed, the revelation of his Word in Christ sheds light on all the living; it gives understanding to the simple. Being simple is being like the LORD, for the LORD is the simplest of all. He is simply love, and sharing in his divine life makes us truly loving.
Through his experience of abundant life and the severity of a life of loss and misery Holy Job learned about the mystery of God and the mystery of suffering. This most challenging teacher, suffering, taught the holy ones of the Covenant that there are things in life that we can not understand, great things like suffering. Indeed these things are too wonderful for us; we cannot fully grasp them; we cannot wrap our mind around them. Yet, like Job, we have learned that the Mystery of God is greater than the mystery of suffering. With Job we confess that God can do all things and that no purpose of his can be hindered. Even with the faith of the Old Testament we know that we don’t know and can never know what only suffering can reveal. With us dwells the living God, just as He dwelt with Job and all who suffer at every time and in every place. All we can do is disown our doubt and repent of our fear–all in dust and ashes. The end of Job’s life was filled with greater blessings than his earlier life. Such is the promise of the life of faith–blessings beyond all we could imagine even greater than the abundance of suffering we have experienced is the blessings of faith in the God who first loved us. In this love may we grow old and full of years.
The Lord Jesus continues to teach his disciples that even the full force of the enemy will not harm them. Indeed, through today’s Gospel proclamation we are present to the Lord Jesus. He hears our rejoicing that even the demons are subject to us because of his Holy Name. Yet, he warns us again, “do not rejoice because spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Rejoice, the Lord tells us, but do not be proud of your success. Rejoice, rather, that your name is permanently written in the Book of the Living. Rejoice that your name and your person are secure in the Father’s eternal love. This is the only assurance we need to continue praising and serving the Lord of heaven and earth. So, we continue to rejoice with Job and Saint Francis and everyone throughout history who has suffered to give birth to a new creation in the Holy Spirit. It is this simple rejoicing that causes the Lord Jesus to rejoice in the Holy Spirit and praise the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth. Indeed, Our Father has hidden these simple truths from the wise and the learned. Yet, he has revealed them to the childlike, to the simple of heart. Indeed, this is the Father’s gracious will! Indeed, his Father has handed over all things to the Lord Jesus. We have come to know the Son because the Father has revealed him to us. This is the blessing for which we have longed all our lives, to see the Father in the face of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Many great and powerful rulers throughout history have longed to see what we see and have not seen it; to hear what we hear and have not heard it. The LORD loves the simple and in them he greatly rejoices.