Right and Just
(5th Ordinary Sunday: Job 7:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39)
In the Preface, which introduces the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, we affirm that it is “right and just, always and everywhere,” to praise the Lord our God for the blessings being recalled in that day’s liturgy.
Always. Everywhere. This seems to suppose a life of constant celebration. But Job, a true man of God, states, “I shall not see happiness again.” That he found himself in such a state is sad, but it is important for us to know—and accept—that believers can have bad days, weeks, months, even years.
You may recall that Job’s situation was the result of a wager. God praised Job’s righteousness, but Satan answered, “Put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” So God allowed Satan to torment Job. And although Job complained loud and long of his sufferings, we read, “In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.”
In many parts of France in 1846, the people were facing severe hardships. They responded by using Jesus’ name, not with prayerful respect, which is right and just, but in the expression of their anger, as Mary pointed out at La Salette.
Like Job, there are times when we have lots more questions than answers, regarding our own troubles or those of others. It is especially troubling to see Christians, struggling with fear, doubt, stress, etc., sometimes abandoning the faith, turning away from God at the time when they need him most. The Beautiful Lady’s call to conversion is addressed to just such persons.
St. Paul writes, “An obligation has been laid upon me.” He preached the Gospel out of love for Christ; out of love for others, he became “all things to all.”
Jesus also strove to bring his preaching and healing ministry, grounded in prayer, to as many as possible.
Mary tells us to make her message known. She has laid an obligation on us. In our own hard times, heads bowed low, if necessary, and humble as dust, it is right and just that we bear what we must for the sake of the Gospel and of our neighbor, in the hope of helping all to recognize Jesus’ healing presence.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.