Take courage, my people, who perpetuate Israel's name! It was not for destruction that you were sold to the nations, but you were handed over to your enemies because you angered God. For you provoked the one who made you by sacrificing to demons and not to God. You forgot the everlasting God, who brought you up, and you grieved Jerusalem, who reared you. For she saw the wrath that came upon you from God, and she said:
Listen, you neighbours of Zion, God has brought great sorrow upon me; for I have seen the exile of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. With joy I nurtured them, but I sent them away with weeping and sorrow. Let no one rejoice over me, a widow and bereaved of many; I was left desolate because of the sins of my children, because they turned away from the law of God.
Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered by the one who brought this upon you. For just as you were disposed to go astray from God, return with tenfold zeal to seek him. For the one who brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation.
The poor when they see it will be glad
and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy
and does not spurn his servants in their chains.
Let the heavens and the earth give him praise,
the sea and all its living creatures. (R./)
For God will bring help to Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah
and men shall dwell there in possession.
The sons of his servants shall inherit it;
those who love his name shall dwell there. (R./)
The seventy returned to Jesus with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."
Strangely, even so good a person as Job must "repent in dust and ashes." He now felt humbled by the overpowering mystery of God's presence. He had presumed to question God and to argue his case, as with an equal colleague, but now he disowns his words and repents, in light of his new insight into the majesty of God. The conclusion to the Book of Job invites all human beings to be humble before God. If we follow Job's example, we will be blessed like him.
Our gospel allows us a rare glimpse into the heartfelt prayer of Jesus himself. The Evangelists, especially Luke, often mention the fact that Jesus prayed, but seldom suggest what he prayed about. Here he speaks his prayer aloud, inspired by a s urge of joy. Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, he thanks the Father that what was hidden from the learned and the clever, but revealed to merest children. We also try to respond to the giftedness of life, and try to share our spirit of gratitude with others.
We take natural pride in our work, when we have done it well. That was the mood of the disciples as they returned in upbeat mood from a successful mission. With great satisfaction they report that they have even succeeded in casting out devils. Jesus affirms the success of their work, but tells them to focus on something else. More basic than their apparent success is in the fact that their names are written in heaven. The deepest source of their joy, and ourse, must be our relationship with God. It is this link with God which ultimately makes our work worthwhile. Jesus declared, "Happy the eyes that see what you see." They recognised the presence of God in the person of Jesus. They believed in his special relationship with the Father and felt a share in that relationship. That is the basic source of their joy, after doing their best.
Our sharing in Jesus' relationship with God is our greatest treasure, beyond any success we may have in life. Sharing in Jesus' relationship with the Father is what "many prophets and kings longed to see and hear", and is our deepest reason for joy and gratitude. Even when our working life ends, our share in Jesus' relationship with God endures.