Job 9:1-13, 14-16
Job spoke next. He said:
Indeed, I know it is as you say:
how can man be in the right against God?
If any were so rash as to challenge him for reasons,
one in a thousand would be more than they could answer.
His heart is wise, and his strength is great:
who then can successfully defy him?
He moves the mountains, though they do not know it;
he throws them down when he is angry.
He shakes the earth, and moves it from its place,
making all its pillars tremble.
The sun, at his command, forbears to rise,
and on the stars he sets a seal.
He and no other stretched out the skies,
and trampled the Sea’s tall waves.
The Bear, Orion too, are of his making,
the Pleiades and the Mansions of the South.
His works are great, beyond all reckoning,
his marvels, past all counting.
Were he to pass me, I should not see him,
nor detect his stealthy movement.
Were he to snatch a prize, who could prevent him,
or dare to say, ‘What are you doing?’
God never goes back on his anger,
Rahab’s minions still lie at his feet.
How dare I plead my cause, then,
or choose arguments against him?
Suppose I am in the right, what use is my defence?
For he whom I must sue is judge as well.
If he deigned to answer my citation,
could I be sure that he would listen to my voice?
As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
… the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
In July 2008, during my World Youth Day pilgrimage in Sydney, there was one point of time when we felt quite homeless. We were all housed in a school hall and dormitory where we had to sleep on the floor in the cold winter. What that experience taught me is that when on a pilgrimage, we cannot expect the best of living conditions and have to take whatever is given to us. I was just grateful that we didn’t have to sleep out in the open!
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. One thing we often forget about Jesus’ three years in public ministry is that he was constantly on the move, travelling from one town to another all throughout the land, preaching the Good News. There must have been many a time when he lacked basic creature comforts and had to sleep out in the open. When he was lucky, someone might have provided him a nice place to stay. Most of the time, he just took whatever was given to him.
In the first reading, we have here a man, a rich man at that, who has just lost everything he owned in one fell swoop. How difficult it must have been for him to go from a rich lifestyle to a poor one overnight. His speech to his friends reflected the frustration he was feeling at the unfairness of it all.
My friends, sometimes when bad things befall us, we might feel like Job, wondering at the unfairness of it all. But let us remember the example given to us by Jesus, to take all things that happen to us in stride. St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed not for riches or for poverty, but to be indifferent and to seek only the will of God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: Dear Lord, give us the grace to do everything for your greater glory, and for holy indifference, choosing neither riches nor poverty, neither health nor sickness, neither married life nor the celibate life, but to take everything as it comes according to your will. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for what we have.