Then Job answered:
"Indeed I know that this is so
but how can a mortal be just before God?
If one wished to contend with him,
one could not answer him once in a thousand.
He is wise in heart,
and mighty in strength —
who has resisted him and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains,
and they do not know it,
when he overturns them in his anger
who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble
who commands the sun,
and it does not rise
who seals up the stars
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the Sea
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south
who does great things beyond understanding,
and marvellous things without number.
Look, he passes by me,
and I do not see him
he moves on,
but I do not perceive him.
He snatches away
who can stop him?
Who will say to him, 'What are you doing?'
How then can I answer him,
choosing my words with him?
Though I am innocent, I cannot answer him
I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
If I summoned him and he answered me,
I do not believe that he would listen to my voice."
I call to you, Lord, all the day long;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work your wonders for the dead?
Will the shades stand and praise you? R./
Will your love be told in the grave
or your faithfulness among the dead?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
or your justice in the land of oblivion? (R./)
As for me, Lord, I call to you for help:
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you reject me?
Why do you hide your face? (R./)
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Job takes us back to that austere period after the exile as inviting us to examine how we deal with crisis in life. He replies to Bildad, the second friend who had come to offer his sympathy and comfort in his dark hour.
This chapter summarizes the Book of Job: In the end, nobody can be justified before God, whose wisdom and power are beyond our understanding.. "Should He come near me, I cannot see Him; How much less can I give Him any answer." The final poem (Job 38-41) proclaiming God's control of the universe, beyond human scrutiny and comprehension, is already sketched for us in today's reading. Like Job, we too must live within a dark cloud of mystery, and learn the way of faithful humility before God. Quick answers, like fast food and overnight wealth, are generally not the best for physical health and psychological peace. We can learn to recognize the inner groaning of the Spirit " awaiting the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23).
Very few people can live heroically on a day-by-day basis, nor should life be planned that way. Yet, testing moments come to each disciple, and then we need to hear again the stern words of Jesus: "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Let the dead bury their dead. Whoever puts his hand to the plough but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God." To deal with today's challenge we need to discern which of today's readings apply, yet even today we must prepare for tomorrow and its new demands.
Three people declared their willingness to become followers of Jesus, but they seemed unaware of what involved or of any sense of urgency. Two of them claim they have some important duties to attend to first. You would have thought that burying one's father and saying goodbye to people at home were priority duties. Yet, Jesus insists that following him straight away, without delay, is the more urgent duty. This is one of probably several gospel texts that we all find difficult. Jesus seems to be so demanding. Yet, Jesus may be making it clear to all of us that following him, becoming and remaining his disciple, is demanding. It is never going to be an easy or a soft option. Jesus does demand a level of allegiance to himself that is greater than the allegiance owed to family, even though it is not in any sense incompatible with our family allegiances. There may come a time when our fidelity to the values of the gospel will put us at odds with those closest to us. today's gospelbrings home to us that walking in the way of the Lord is a serious business