Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; 1Cor 16-19; 22-23; Mk 1:29-39
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?”
Here’s a cheery question for you to consider.
To be fair, when Job said this his life was a catastrophe. His children were dead, his wealth stolen or destroyed, even his health was gone. The most compassionate thing his wife could come up with was, “Curse God and die!”. Even the most faithful person faced with such tragedy must stop and wonder at some point if life is really worth living.
Job’s question – really a variation on “What is the meaning of life? – has taken on a new urgency in an age when scientific discovery and technological innovation seems to be greatly outpacing theological and spiritual reflection. So many traditional and ancient ways of understanding God (anyone offered a prayer to “the man upstairs” recently?) have ceased to make sense to so many people. How many people long for something or someone to speak to their souls but have no idea where to find it.
That search for meaning – or fear that there might not be any – is a fearsome demon of the 21st century. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the gospel once again this week focuses on Jesus’ ability to cast out demons, even the most fearsome.
We know that, in the end, Job chooses to live. Our Faith whispers to us in the depth of our souls that we, too, are called to life – life to the fullest. And if we can’t always break the grip of this particular demon that calls us to question life’s purpose and meaning, we can turn the struggle over to Jesus. There ain’t a demon fearsome enough to get between Jesus and me – or you.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)