The Book of Job selection in today's readings consists of an exchange between God and the devil. Satan contended that Job was only loyal and faithful because God showered Job with good things, such as his children, property, and animals. Satan challenged God to take these blessings away from Job to see if that would cause him to turn away from God. We witnessed Job grieve over his losses, yet he did not turn his back on God; instead, ever faithful, from his mouth comes, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!"
Some who hear this exchange remain doubtful. How could Job possibly respond to his hurt that way? Job was a man of faith. He possessed faith in God, a profound faith. How often have we seen the destructive impact of storms on people's lives, the loss of homes due to flooding, fires, or war? Then, when interviewed, these same people respond with how grateful they are to be alive and how, unlike their lives, all those material items can be replaced.
Many among us respond differently to God. Some have expectations of Him that reveal a low trust level at times. We question why God doesn't answer our prayers when we ask something from Him. We probably would not be all that comfortable with accepting Job's response that the Lord gives and the Lord takes. We are not there yet. But some people are.
Even some of Jesus' disciples were not there yet, as we heard today how they were arguing about who was the greatest among them. They were embarrassed when Jesus asked them what they were discussing, and they admitted no doubt with bowed heads.
Jesus used the occasion and spoke about a child to counter the disciple's quest for importance. For Jesus, the greatest is, in fact, the least, and access to Him and the Father will come through the least. But there is something else about a child that may explain how it is that some among us have total trust in God as Job had.
A young child in my family refused to leave his mother's side when others beckoned him. Some labeled him a mommy's boy, whereas, for others, this behavior manifested a deep and total love between that child and his mother. That kind of love exists with some followers of Jesus, the same kind of complete trust and love which enabled Job and others like him to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!