Vol: 45, No.13 5TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME ( B) February 04 2018  
The story of Job begins with a narrative about Job, a wealthy man who lives blamelessly before God. But one day Satan challenges God to test Job, saying that if God deprived him of his great wealth, he will certainly curse God. Job is subsequently stripped of his wealth, family and health, and yet bears them all patiently.
Then the scene changes, and the book relates how three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to console him. When they arrive, Job becomes very impatient and bewails his fate. These men accuse Job on the grounds that his sufferings prove him to be guilty of sin. Job, however, denies any guilt and demands that God explain why he must suffer. Finally, God himself speaks to Job. Speaking out of the whirlwind, God confronts Job: “Who are you to question me? Could you create the universe? Do you govern the stars? Are you master of life? Can you control the power of untamed animals?” Job obviously has no answer to these questions.
There are two important morals to the story. First, we ought not to attempt to bring God down to our level by offering simplistic answers to life’s greatest problems. To presume, on the one hand, as Job’s friends did, that suffering must be punishment from God is an insult to God. To presume, on the other hand, as Job did, that we can understand all the
riddles of life is foolish. Second, when we suffer all the logic in the world will not help. Only an encounter with the Lord and the awareness that God is close to us in our pain can bring us peace. When we can say to God as Job did, “Now my eyes see you,” we may not understand all the reasons for our pain, but we can accept it.
The book of Job encourages us to seek God in prayer. It helps to realize that while there are no easy answers to the problem of suffering, there is still an answer. It is the faith-realization that God is near and that we can entrust ourselves to God’s loving arms. This is the solution that the book of Job offers.
This leads to the gospel of today. Jesus has just begun his ministry and he sees suffering right in front of him. But he does not give a discourse about why people suffer but he does simple actions to alleviate the suffering. He simply does his best to cure the people with diseases and suffering. When he hears Simon’s mother-in-law is sick he goes into the house of Simon and cures her. That evening he cures a multitude of people with illnesses. But early in the morning, before it is time for waking-up, he goes to pray. And in the solitude of the early morning he prays to his heavenly Father. If we can have these attitudes, we too may have the strength to accept our sufferings.
– AK
February 2018 Readings (5th Week in Ordinary Time) Psalter Week 1
05 Mon (R) St Agatha, 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13/ Ps 132:6-10/ Mk 6:53-56
06 Tue (R) Sts Gonsalo Garcia, Paul Miki & Comps, 2 Cor 6:4-10/ Ps 30:2-4, 17, 25/ Jn 12:24-26
07 Wed (G) 1 Kgs 10:1-10/ Ps 37:30-31, 39-40/ Mk 7:14-23
08 Thu (G) Sts Jerome Emiliani & Josephine Bakhita, 1 Kgs 11:4-13/ Ps 106:3-4, 35-37, 40/ Mk 7:24-30
09 Fri (G) 1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19/ Ps 81:10-15/ Mk 7:31-37
10 Sat (W) St Scholastica, 1 Kgs 12:26-32; 13:33-34/ Ps 106:6-7, 19-22/ Mk 8:1-10
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