Gospel: Lk 9:46-50
One day, the disciples were arguing about which of them was the most important. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he took a little child and stood him by his side. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. And listen: the one who is found to be the least among you all, is the one who is the greatest.”
Then John spoke up, “Master, we saw someone who drives out demons by calling upon your name, and we tried to forbid him, because he doesn’t follow you with us.” But Jesus said, “Don’t forbid him. He who is not against you is for you.”
Today’s first reading presents the beginning of the Book of Job, one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. And we will continue to read from this book in the days ahead.
This work was composed at some time around the 5th century B.C. by an anonymous author who created his dramatic poem around the imaginary figure of a man named Job.
The Book of Job is all about the problem of the suffering good person regards divine retribution. In a series of long speeches, four of Job’s friends urge him to admit that he deserves his suffering because of some hidden sin of his. But Job maintains his innocence and calls upon God to have God explain to him why he is suffering so much.
Many Christians, when they experience great trials, react like Job. They believe that God is responsible for their sufferings, that God has sent them their sufferings as a punishment or as a trial to test them. But God, contrary to what many Old Testament texts say, never punishes and never sends tests. Jesus is very clear on this: “My Father judges no one” (Jn 5:22). How could a good father want his children to suffer?