CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 26TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: MAN LIKE JOB, MENTOR UNTO THE SUFFERING OF TODAY
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
MEMORIAL OF SAINT JEROME, PRIEST AND DOCTOR
READINGS: JOB 9:1-12.14-16, PSALM 88, LUKE 9:57-62
What is our attitude towards suffering. People had come with various pieces of advice to Job as he endured the recurrent perils that befell him. His wife even asked him to curse God and die so he could get over his pain. It was like asking him; why struggle when you can give up? Job debunks the theology of retribution (all our suffering is occasioned by sin) put before him and chooses rather to acknowledge how irresistible God is in power and in judgment. For Job, just as the divine cosmic activity is beyond human understanding or control; so are the interventions of God in human life and man can neither unravel the mysteries therein nor answer the perturbing questions bothering him clearly.
Staying with God even when it hurts whilst appealing for his mercy (Job 9:15) is the best thing man can do. Trying to understand why God allow things to happen the way they do is a futile venture; for the ways of God are not mechanical. Besides, we may want to remember what Isaiah 55:8-9 says; ‘God’s ways and thoughts are different from ours…’ We may do well to remember that suffering is not necessarily the result of our sin and sin does not necessarily lead to immediate judgment. Mary was sinless yet she suffered, Christ is God but he suffered, so did many saints, sinless as they were. The story of many great saints who repented from their sins would suffice.
Jesus Christ would love us to submit totally to God and follow him even when it hurts like Job did. In the first instance, he would love us to count the cost of following him; for once with him, even a place of rest may be difficult to find (Lk. 9:57-58). Secondly, he calls us to risk everything including family in order to follow him. Finally, those whose hearts are always in the past cannot follow him. The Christian advances not to the sunset, but to the dawn. Jesus does not accept lukewarm service my dear brothers in Christ; we must choose to be for him and journey with him onto eternal life.
Oh poor civil servants of the Benue and Nigeria at large whose salaries are not paid; Oh wretched farmers, whose farm produce seem valueless; Oh, barren women and childless homes; Oh jobless and seemingly hopeless of our land, are you at your elastic limits already? Are you giving up on God just yet? How much endurance do you have left? Are you tempted to derail from the right path? Are your friends luring you into devious ways of making it in life? I charge you to make Job your patron today, learn from him, allow his patient endurance and obedient suffering mentor you. God will most certainly come to your aid and your later days will be better than the former (Job 8:7). Friends in Christ, nothing should deter us from following Christ; not sin, not pleasure, not suffering and definitely not riches.
May Saint Jerome, secretary to Pope Damascus, founder of a monastery, school and hospice in Bethlehem and translator of the Bible into Latin; a writer and an ardent advocate of charity intercede for us now and always. Amen.
FEED THE POOR