Jesus does not lose heart till he brings justice to the earth. As disciples we are to follow him and to persevere in the faith and in service.
Job muses that life is but a drudgery. Hence, he seems to lose heart; it seems he is not going to persevere. Never mind that before he praised God and did not sin (Job 1, 21-22; 2, 10).
But in the end, all is well that ends well. For after a dialogue with God that frees him from a monologue that imprisons, Job finds wisdom in suffering (Job 42, 5-6).
Still and all, the least in the kingdom of God are wiser than him. For they do not run the risk not to persevere in their living faith (SV.EN XI:190). They do not “get carried away with impatience; not at all or rarely” (SV.EN XII:142).
One can say, yes, that, better than Job, they are “patient amid the abject poverty they have to suffer.” For they do not curse the day they were born. Nor do they compare themselves to a slave who longs for the shade or to a hired hand who waits for his wages.
No, it is not true that life is but misery. The truth is that “the day of prosperity makes one forget adversity; the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity” (Sir 11, 25). Wiser are the poor who accept all of life’s mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory.
To persevere is to pray and live all the mysteries.
The Son of God becomes like us in all things but sin. That is to say, he lives our human condition of joy, light, sorrow and glory.
But though a man, Jesus does not leave behind his divinity. For he wants to share it with us. He becomes weak to strengthen us. He brings us the joyful and luminous Good News of the kingdom of God and his justice.
And to announce this Good News is to court conflicts (SV.EN I:75). Before them, those with little faith lose heart. But Jesus himself firmly decides to persevere (Lk 9, 51).
Of course, we disciples are to do as our Teacher. We have to go around villages, near and far, to bring the Good News, to cure diseases. To take care of the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor (SV.EN XII:77-78). Woe to us, yes, if we do not preach the Good News “by words and by works.” And if the needy gather at the door, that will be our chance to “leave God for God” (SV.EN IX:252).
Jesus, yes, shows us what to do. For the sake of the joy that is before him, he endures the cross (Heb 12, 2). He despises its shame. And so, he takes his seat in glory at the right of God’s throne. Hence, we have to persevere, even if we have to give up our bodies and shed our blood. What he shows us is the food we need to persevere in the journey. Or it will be too long for us (see 1 Kgs 19, 7).
Grant that we persevere till death. So, guide us through the joys and sorrows of this life to the light and glory of the life to come.
7 February 2021
5th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Job 7, 1-4. 6-7; 1 Cor 9, 16-19. 22-23; Mk 1, 29-39