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Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Job 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17 & Lk. 10:17-24

Job had to endure much suffering and much soul-searching but he came through it all and his story had a happy ending. He had lost everything he had owned and loved. His children had been slain. His wife abandoned him. His health had been ruined. His property was destroyed. He went from the depths of despair to the heights of joy. He went from the ash heap to the mountain top.

Nevertheless according to the Bible, he got back more than he had before his life crashed in on him. He had twice as many children. He completely regained his health. He had twice as much live stock. He lived to a ripe old age of 140. Best of all he lived to see his children, his grandchildren and even his great-grandchildren … a truly happy ending to a story of suffering and despair.

We need to be careful in how we interpret Job's story and apply it to our lives. We are not to believe that our faith in God will always be rewarded by personal happiness, physical recovery and material prosperity. Such a literal reading and application of the story of Job is not warranted by biblical truth or by personal experience. Sometimes we never get back what life has taken from us, no matter how firm our faith and deep our trust in God. But the ending of Job's story does teach us a profound lesson that can be applied to every person’s life and that is that we can outlive disaster. Nothing that happens to us can close out the possibility of finding some meaning and purpose in that disaster. The message of Job is never to lose faith and trust in God and that life can go on, even in the face of terrible grief and loss.

When the 72 disciples returned from their missionary journeys, Jesus thanked the Father for revealing Himself so generously, both to them, and through them to those around them. The disciples were excited as they saw demons fleeing at the mere mention of Jesus’ name, and Jesus rejoiced with them. The long awaited kingdom of God was on the horizon. The fact that these disciples – mere men – had power over demons was a definitive sign of this kingdom. A new era was dawning and the disciples were privileged to help usher it in.

More important than their power over demons, Jesus told the disciples, was that they should rejoice in the knowledge that their names were written in Heaven. This privilege - something available to all of us - far outweighed any authority they might have over the powers of darkness. Their eyes had been opened to see Jesus and to receive His love in their hearts. Their lives had been transformed by His Spirit, and they were learning to love one another as fully as Jesus loved them. What could be more wonderful than that?

Lord Jesus, set our hearts aflame with love for You, and then we shall be able to live and proclaim the Gospel to the benefit of everyone we meet and, like the disciples, our names will be written in Heaven with theirs.

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