Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus (+929), venerated as a martyr in Bohemia. Memorial of William Quijano, young Salvadorian man of the Community of Sant'Egidio, killed by the violence of the maras in 2009.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Job 9,1-12.14-16

Job spoke next. He said: Indeed, I know it is as you say: how could anyone claim to be upright before God? Anyone trying to argue matters with him, could not give him one answer in a thousand. Among the wisest and the hardiest, who then can successfully defy him? He moves the mountains, though they do not know it; he throws them down when he is angry. He shakes the earth, and moves it from its place, making all its pillars tremble. The sun, at his command, forbears to rise, and on the stars he sets a seal. He and no other has stretched out the heavens and trampled on the back of the Sea. He has made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the Mansions of the South. The works he does are great and unfathomable, and his marvels cannot be counted. If he passes me, I do not see him; he slips by, imperceptible to me. If he snatches his prey, who is going to stop him or dare to ask, 'What are you doing?' And here am I, proposing to defend myself and select my arguments against him! Even if I am upright, what point is there in answering him? I can only plead for mercy with my judge! And if he deigned to answer my citation, I cannot believe he would listen to what I said,

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

What are human beings before God, the creator, the one who sustains the world and orders creation according to his wisdom? Job almost feels crushed by the omnipotence of God: "Who does great things beyond understanding, and marvellous things without number." Even God's judgments are inscrutable. Human beings can do nothing: "Though I am innocent, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse." Job is not helped by the words of his friend Bildad. His words do not convince Job of his sin, nor do they support him in his difficult dialogue with the Lord. Job's greatness lies in the fact that he never stops speaking, asking the Lord questions, or trying to find the Lord's presence by looking for him in history and creation. His words certainly seem to be enclosed by a horizon of mistrust, not leaving any space of God to intervene. Throughout almost the entire book, Job's prayer seems to be a monologue: Job speaks but God does not answer: He seems distant and incomprehensible. On the other side, his friends are only capable of parroting a short-sighted theology that simply repeats that people are afflicted by evil because of their sin. Job responds to this cold theology by saying that there is no point in being innocent or guilty in the eyes of a God who does not seemed concerned by the suffering of humanity. But in the final words of Job's speech appears the uniqueness of the relationship which ties him to God: "There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand on us both." Job does not consider God an umpire, a judge who gives a sentence of innocence or guilt, as his friends claim, but a friend to whom he speaks. And this makes Job's drama all the more profound. He never stops speaking with God: his faith is greater than the pain he is suffering.