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Monday – Twenty-sixth week – OT2
Readings: Job 1:6-22; Lk 9:46-50.
1/ First Reading: NAB Job 1:6 One day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.” 8 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?” 9 But Satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? 10 Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. 11 But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely, he will blaspheme you to your face.” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. 13 And so one day, while his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the asses grazing beside them, 15 and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 19 when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 20 Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, 21 and said, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” 22 In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.
2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 9:46 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” 49 Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
I. THEME: Jealousy
Jealousy is one of the seven root sins. The jealous people not only want to have what others have but also want others to lose what they are having. There are many acts that show people jealousy, such as: speaking calumny of others to defame them, feeling anxious when others are gotten attention, treated with honor or blessed with material gains, finding opportunities to take away what others have, quarreling for the highest position or the better part, fighting and killing as Cain killed Abel.
Today reading display some acts of jealousy. In the first reading, Satan was jealous with Job because God had been so proud of him. He said to God that the reason why Job is blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil is because God blesses and protects him; if God stops doing that, he shall curse God to His face. God let Satan put Job to trial and sufferings to prove his point, but he didn’t have permission to touch Job’s body. Satan went and took away all Job have. In the Gospel, Jesus’ apostles quarreled and contented with one another to see who amongst them is the greatest one in God’s kingdom. Not only that, but they also prevent other to expel demons because he didn’t belong to their group.
1/ Reading I: Satan was jealous with Job.
1.1/ God’s praise for Job and Satan’s jealousy: God said to Satan: “Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?” But Satan answered the Lord and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person.”
After having God’s permission, Satan quickly maltreated God without mercy. First of all, he took away all Job’s properties such as livestock and servants. Then he took away all his houses. Last of all, he took away all of Job’s children.
1.2/ Job’s reaction: He recognized all what he had is God’s gift. If He decided to take away, he completely obeys His will. Therefore, when he heard that all his properties have been taken away and all his children are dead, Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, and said, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”
The main thing in the conversation between the Lord and Satan is that Satan wants to show that if God withdraws all of His gifts, Job shall be angry and blaspheme God; but Satan made a big mistake, Job didn’t blaspheme God as the author said: “In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.”
2/ Gospel: “Who is the least among you, that one is the greatest.”
2.1/ The desire of vainglory, power and material gains: Today report continues yesterday report which is about Jesus’ second forewarning about his Passion. The disciples reacted by arguing among them to find out: “Who is the greatest among them?”
These desires are not only existed among the disciples, but also happened everywhere and every time. Most people want to have one or all three of the followings. Let us examine every one of them:
(1) Vainglory: This is the tendency to become famous or to be known by many. We will not count the people who are deservedly to be known and praised because of their useful works. There are some not only have no talent but also no virtue but want to be well-known. These people only do what is important, only work before others’ presence, or make noise to draw people’s attention when they have to work. These people can also find a way to debase others so that they will look better, or they shall falsify good intentions of others.
(2) Power: This is the tendency to give a command and not to take a command from anyone. We will not count those who must use their power to govern people in justice and love. There are some who use their power to command others to serve them, to treat others unjustly, or to find financial gains for themselves.
(3) Material gains: This tendency is hidden in two above tendencies. Again, we will not mention those who work hard and their reward is reasonable. There are some who want to have material gains by any cost, such as: bribery or using their power to take away what belongs to others.
2.2/ The right way to become the greatest: Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Children have nothing to pay back to adults. They have no glory, nor power nor material things to give to adults. In opposition, they entirely rely on parents, big brothers and sisters, teachers… to teach, to feed and to protect them. There are two main reasons why we should serve them for free:
(1) God will compensate us for what we have done for them: Jesus is clearly in connecting the serving of children and those in needs with the serving of him and God, and those who refused to serve these people, refused to serve him and God. In other place, Jesus says that if one who serves only those who can reward them, God doesn’t have to reward them because they already got their reward from people. But if one chooses to serve those who have nothing to pay back, God will compensate for them. When God pays back, it is much more than what one expects; therefore, we should help those who had nothing to pay back.
(2) If we receive gratis, give as gratis: When we entered into this world, we did not bring anything with us; and we will get out, we will not bring with us anything. All what we have are from God, our parents, and those who lived before us. We cannot pay back to God because He does not need anything from men. Not many of us have opportunities to pay back to our parents and those before us. The only thing we can do is to help the future generation to grow healthy, to love God and to keep His commandments.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We need to eliminate the seed of jealousy in ourselves, our family and community. If we don’t correct it, this bad habit shall gradually expand and destroy all the good in ourselves, our family and community.
– To eliminate jealousy, we not only practice to stop jealous acts, but also practice to have a virtue which is contrast to jealousy. The virtue we need to practice is charity, to wish good for others and to help them to accomplish it.