Fr John
Parish Priest

Months of delusion I have assigned to me . . . restlessly I fret till twilight fails.” (Job 7) Our Old Testament reading this weekend sees the prophet Job struggling to understand why his life has been so full of suffering . Job is a long book, 42 Chapters and a classic of world literature: Tennyson described as “the greatest poem of ancient and modern times”. In the story, poor Job has a terrible time of it. His faith in God is tested in the most extreme way when he is told that his livestock, servants, and his ten children have all died due to marauding invaders or natural disasters. Despite this, Job continues to bless God. He is then inflicted with a horrible disease of the skin; Job refuses to heed his wife’s advice to curse God and prepare for death. His three friends arrive to comfort him and a debate ensues about why all these things have happened to him. His friends believe that Job must be being punished for some past evil, but he assures them that his past life has been blameless. He struggles, as his friends continue to criticise him, to hold on to his faith that God will yet stand by him and to understand why he, an innocent man should have suffered so much, while the wicked live in peace and prosperity.
We struggle in our own day to come to terms with the tragic consequences of the current pandemic, the widespread loss of life and suffering it has caused. Despite what was thrown at him, Job refused to fall into the trap of charging God with wrongdoing (1:22) or of punishing the innocent. Despite his anguish he nevertheless exclaims that God “knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold”. (23:10).
We pray for those who struggle with suffering today and ask for grace to keep us faithful to God’s will in difficult