FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 26TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II
THEME: THE SUFFERING OF THE INNOCENT!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR MONDAY SEPTEMBER 26 2022
*Job 1: 6 – 22, Lk 9: 46 – 50.
The book of Job is one of the most profound masterpieces of all biblical literature because its theme /subject matter bothers on one of the most challenging facticities of our human life here on earth – the problem of evil, especially the Suffering of the innocent. It attacks the greatest thesis of modern day Christianity on prosperity and keeps reminding us that the righteous could suffer not as a matter of sins committed by him or his forefathers but as a matter of temptation /trial of his /her faith. Temptations, and indeed examinations are not all about the devil. God is also involved.
Our pericope for today begins with the presentation of the devil as prowling about the earth, 1Pet 5: 8-9 even among the sons of God. God boasts with his servant Job while the devil calls for a test of his faith: ‘Job is not God-fearing for nothing.. You have blessed all his undertakings… Lay a finger on his possessions, then I warrant you, he will curse you to your face’. And this is the crux of the matter: *that God is glorified in a believer whose worship is unconditional*. To wit, Job falls to the ground, after his misfortunes and prays: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return again. Yahweh gave, Yahweh has taken back. Blessed be the name of Yahweh’. Job’s reaction to the bad news he receives; the loss of his flocks and the killing of his herdsmen (business failure) and the death of his children (family disaster) was a noble reaction. His faith was beyond ‘echo spirituality’ – a rebound to unfavourable circumstances. He made a blind act of faith: ‘I know that my redeemer liveth and that he will rise me up at last from the dust of the earth.. And from my flesh, I shall look on God’, Job 19: 25. It was such a quantum leap of faith beyond old testament provenances – a faith in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Job teaches us that we mortals do not have a right to question the wisdom and sovereignty of the omnipotent God. Like Job, we should believe that after the sorrows and strifes, after the stress and strains of life, we would reap the peaceable fruit of unending blessedness.
Today’s gospel summarizes the pillar of all christian virtues as humility; consisting of simplicity and resignation to the will of God. St Augustine said: ‘It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels’. Christ affirms that ‘The least among you is the greatest’. Like children, untouched by strife for superiority and ambition and malice; like children, clothed with humility and resignation to the will of their father; like children clothed with innocence, we should rejoice when we suffer for bearing Christ’s name not for being a murderer, 1Pet 4:15. We should always be wont to praise God even in moments of misfortune knowing that ‘for those who love God, he makes everything work unto good’, Rom 8: 28. May God bless you today!
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