Thursday, September 13, 2007

More on Job's submission

It response to Bildad the Shuhite's charge that Job is being punished either for the sins of his children, on whose behalf Job "would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all," acknowledging "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts" (Job 1,5), or because of his own failures, Job replies:

"But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times." This is so because God "is wise in heart and mighty in strength- who has hardened himself against him and succeeded? - he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the earth out of its place and its pillars tremble" (Job 9, 2-6a). Despite acknowledeging the short-comings of all people before God, Job rejects Bildad's accusation, relying still on God's great mercy: "Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser" (Job 9,15). "Though I am in the right," Job continues, "my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse" (Job 9,20).

How much self-justifying do we engage in, presenting our righteousness, or our good intentions, which, it has been sagely observed, pave the road to hell, before God and others, instead of acknowledging our failures? Like Job, let's get real and be honest. Like Job, we must also recognize that we are not being punished by God, especially in light of Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, suffering, as our Sunday readings from Luke's Gospel have aptly demonstrated over these past several weeks, plays a role in our sanctification. With Job, may we also recognize that "My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good" (Job 9,25).

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