The readings today present us with two conclusions. First we hear the conclusion of the Book of Job. We have really only scraped the surface of this piece of the Wisdom Literature (the Readers’ Digest version of this book). We also read the conclusion of the short story contained within the Gospel of Luke about the missionary journeys of the seventy-two disciples of Jesus.
The end of the Book of Job tells us that after a time of suffering and grief, Job is restored to his place of honor in God’s reign. There are some Biblical scholars who look at the story of Job as a retelling of the story of Adam in the Garden of Eden, telling us how things would have played out if Adam had resisted the temptation to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan plays an important part in both stories. He is the tempter who leads Adam and Eve astray. He is also the one who challenges God, claiming that Job is faithful because of all the favors with which God has blessed him. So God allows Satan to strip Job of his family, his wealth and his health. Adam gives in to the temptation while Job refuses to do so. At the end of his time of trial, Job is restored and has even more children, more flocks and herds, and better health than he had beforehand. We come away from this story aware of how small we are in the whole picture. While Adam gave in to the temptation to be like God, Job teaches us to be aware of our smallness and our dependence upon God for everything.
The seventy-two disciples come back from their missionary journey and are amazed at what they have been able to accomplish. Not only are they amazed, they really don’t understand how it all happened. Satan is also part of this story. Jesus tells us that because his disciples accepted the mission that he gave them, Satan is doomed. The evangelist writes of Jesus sending two disciples to each of the thirty-six then known countries of the world. Evil is vanquished because of what Jesus has accomplished and because of those who will accept the great commission that we have all been given to bring the Gospel to the world.
Today we remember St. Theodore Guerin who founded the Sisters of Providence in Indiana and who, like Job, placed all her trust in God’s providential care. As we approach the altar today and worship God who made the stars and set them in their place, the God who revealed himself to Job and healed through the disciples, we wish to meet God today. May we be given the faith to taste and see the goodness, power and love of the God who can do all things!
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator