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Saturday, February 3, 2018

JOB: The Message of Perseverance

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Feb 4, 2018
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

In today’s first reading (Job 7:1-4), Job, a Jew before the coming of Christ, was very devoted to God. Scriptures tell us Job was
“blameless and upright,” one who “revered God and avoided evil.” In his righteousness, Job was very blessed. He had seven sons and three
daughters. He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred asses; and he had many servants, so that he was the richest man among all the peoples of the East.

Yet, God takes everything away and allows Job to encounter many trials. But Job never gives up. And God again blesses Him. God gives back to Job, twice as much as he had before.

My brothers and sisters, this message of
Fr. John Paul Shea
perseverance that we hear in today’s first reading is this same message of perseverance that we receive through our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, in Christ we are blessed in the end not simply with earthy blessings, but we are blessed with the gift of eternal life.

As we reflect on the story of Job in today’s first reading, let us be inspired to persevere in our faith.

We live in a fallen world. We hear of this fallen world in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39) as Our Lord is surrounded by the effects of sin. Scores of people push against Jesus. They are possessed or they want to be healed. Jesus knew that sickness was not part of His Father's plan. These people were suffering the result of man choosing death over life, choosing to push God aside in favor of the material world. Maybe they were innocent as individuals, but they all suffered from mankind's guilt.

Yet, this is why Our Lord Jesus has come into our world to free us from the power of death that has taken hold of this world.

In fact, the greatest example we have of perseverance is the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Although He is the Son of God, He chose to come into our world as a slave.
Although He could perform miracles, He did not perform a miracle to get Himself off of the cross. No. Our Lord persevered in His suffering, obedient unto death. We must follow His example.

Our Lord Jesus teaches us that we too must carry our cross if we want to enter into heaven.

Perhaps our modern-day Job is someone who is having difficulty controlling his or her diabetes. And, horror of horrors, he or she loses a foot to the disease. And when things start looking brighter with a prosthetic that works, the eyesight fails. Then cancer is found and chemotherapy compounds the woes. Yet in the midst of all of this, he or she remains steadfast and strong in faith.

Perhaps our modern-day Job is one is struggling from an addiction such as pornography. He or she takes time out each day to pray. Yet, it is a battle. The person feels shame and guilt, goes to confession regularly but he is tired of confessing
the same sin. Yet, the person does not give up. The person humbles himself continually vowing to God to do his or her part.

It is this sort of perseverance that God is asking of each of us in our struggles, brothers and sisters. Yet, it is our perseverance that brings us healing.

In today’s Responsorial Psalm we hear the words,
“Praise the Lord, who heals the broken hearted.” Didn't God heal Job when he was brokenhearted? Didn't God send His Son into the world to heal broken-hearted mankind?
Isn't it good to know that Jesus is the savior who does not give up, who heals us when we ask him, who takes our part when it seems no one else is?

My brothers and sisters, the truth is that each one of us is broken. Each one of us is fragmented. Each one of us needs to be healed. Therefore, let us continually come to Jesus Christ. Let us trust that He will help us because He will! We just need to persevere. For we do not have a Lord
"who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16). Amen.

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