Job 7:1-4, 6-7 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 Mark 1:29-39
In our first reading, we learn that Job is having a very bad, even horrible, day, week, month, and year. As you probably remember, his life was fraught with difficulties and suffering. For some of us, Job’s lament seems all to familiar. We, too have periods in our lives when we feel that life is pure drudgery, and we wonder if we will ever see happiness again. Perhaps we feel that we have a lot in common with Job. However, it is important to note that Job is one of the most consistently courageous characters we meet in the Old Testament. He remains faithful to God and, in the end, his faithfulness is rewarded - despite the extremely difficult life he has endured. (Read the final chapter of The Book of Job to learn more!)
Paul shows similar fortitude, in that, while he is a Roman citizen, and has many rights and privileges because of that, he chooses to do whatever is necessary in order to preach the Good News to everyone, no matter what the cost to himself, in terms of hardship and suffering. He is compelled to preach on behalf of the Lord, whom he dearly loves.
And in the Gospel, we see the ultimate model of integrity and goodness in the person of Jesus. He preaches the Good News, and he acts with authority and conviction. Like Job, who came before him and Paul who came after him, Jesus has more than his share of difficult days, and weeks during his public ministry. Yet he models, for us all, the consistency of his belief in the one who sent him - the Father. So it is that we have also been commissioned and sent, by virtue of our Baptism, to preach the Good News. And, like Jesus, we are asked to model it as well, by our actions. This can be very difficult work! Note that there are times when Jesus must go away for awhile, to pray, to rest and to restore his energy. There is a lesson in that for all of us, as well.
There is much to consider in these readings…to ponder…and to pray over!
by Bill Miller