THE SERVANT GENERAL
LESSONS OF JOB
SUFFERING AND REDEMPTION
November 26, 2009
If you thought the devastation of Ondoy was bad, look at Job.
If you think the affliction of Job was severe, look to Jerusalem.
If you see that the destruction of Jerusalem was lamentable,
look to the end of time.
Our readings today
bring us to the end times. Both the book of Daniel and this
section of Luke (21:20-28) are apocalyptic, that is, having
to do with the end times. But they also have to do with the
various important aspects of the theme the Lord has given
us for 2010.
A common thread is the awesome majesty of God. King Darius
recognized God as “the living God, enduring forever;
his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall
be without end.” (Dn 6:27b). Jesus himself describes
his second coming as “coming in a cloud with power and
great glory.” (Lk 21:27).
Because of that, we
have our proper posture, which is awe or reverential fear.
King Darius, ruler of the whole world at that time, decreed
that “the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared”
(Dn 6:27a). Jesus speaks of awesome “signs in the sun,
the moon, and the stars, and .... the roaring of the sea and
the waves” (Lk 21:25), of “the powers of the heavens
(being) shaken.” (Lk 21:26b).
But why do calamities
and affliction come upon us? First, as punishment for sin.
Jesus says that those “days are the time of punishment
when all the scriptures are fulfilled.” (Lk 21:22).
God’s justice and righteousness will be satisfied. If
evil triumphs today, at the end of time “a terrible
calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment
upon this people.” (Lk 21:23b). But second, due to sin
or not, affliction comes as purification. This is for sinners,
but at times, as in the case of Job, seemingly especially
for good people. God calls us to holiness, and affliction
is what strongly propels us in this direction.
And thus we see that
suffering is redemptive.
What then should our proper posture be?
We recognize who our
God truly is. He is just and righteous. “He is a deliverer
and savior” (Dn 6:28a). “God indeed is my savior”
(Is 12:2a). God loves us, proving this by sending His very
own Son to suffer and die for us on the cross, thus winning
for us our salvation. If God has given us His very own Son,
He will not withhold any good thing from us. So we can look
to Him, as our deliverer, to deliver us not just from our
sins but also from our suffering.
If that is the case,
then we trust in God. Daniel was removed from the lions’
den, “unhurt because he trusted in his God.” (Dn
6:24b). We trust in God’s love for us, in His great
plan for us, in His power to deliver us, in His faithfulness
to our covenant. We might face great trials for the moment,
but in the end, God redeems us.
In trusting God, we
are able to endure our suffering. In fact, we rejoice in seeing,
or knowing, that suffering leads to redemption. Daniel was
attacked by the supervisors and satraps (the high government
officials) and they caused his being “cast into the
lions’ den.” (Dn 6:17a). But Daniel was miraculously
protected by God from any harm. “This gave the king
great joy.” (Dn 6:24a). As we see that the suffering
that pains us actually leads to deliverance, redemption and
holiness, then we too ought to rejoice.
As we know that God is the Almighty, that only He can fulfill
our lives, that we are called to turn away from sin and become
holy, that He will come again in glory at the end of time
for the final judgment, then we must proclaim Him to the world.
We must evangelize. And those we evangelize become evangelizers
themselves, in ever widening circles, until a vast army is
proclaiming Christ throughout all the earth.
Even King Darius, after
witnessing the miracle of Daniel’s redemption, became
an evangelizer. He “wrote to the nations and peoples
of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: ‘All
peace to you! I decree that throughout my royal domain the
God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared” (Dn 6:26-27a).
The work of evangelization
is intended to win the world for Christ. It is to prepare
a people that will be faithful to God’s call and be
among the redeemed when Christ returns in glory. We strive
to give our all, reaching out to as many as we can. If possible,
we look to all of creation and all the earth praising and
exalting God above all forever (Dn 3:68-74).
In this difficult and
challenging work, we continue to trust in Jesus, who commissioned
us to evangelize. Know that Jesus remains with us till the
end of time. And know that he sends his angels to assist us
and protect us. Daniel said: “My God has sent his
angel and closed the lions’ mouths” (Dn 6:23a).
Ondoy, Job, Jerusalem, the end times. All have many lessons
to teach us.
If you think you have
suffered, think again. Jesus describes the end times in these
words: “desolation, ... time of punishment, ... woe,
... a terrible calamity, ... a wrathful judgment, ... trampled
underfoot, ... dismay, ... powers of the heavens shaken”
(Lk 21:20,22-26). No wonder some “people will die of
fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world”
But listen. Such apocalyptic
images and writing are meant to encourage you and to inspire
you! What? Yes! Look at the total picture. “But when
these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 21:28). Our
suffering is just a prelude to redemption. Of that, we are
assured by Jesus himself, who himself already showed us the
We will suffer in the
world. We will be afflicted, oppressed and persecuted. But
such is the privilege of following in the footsteps of our
Master and Savior Jesus. We endure for a time, but we look
to heavenly bliss for all eternity.
There are seven archangels, and three of them are mentioned
in the Bible. One is Raphael, mentioned in the book of Tobit.
The other two are Gabriel and Michael, mentioned in the book
of Daniel (Dn 8:16, 10:13) and in the New Testament. Gabriel
of course is well known as the angel who appeared to Mary
and announced the coming birth of Jesus (Lk 1:26-38). Michael
is prominent in the book of Revelation as the angel who fought
and defeated Satan (Rev 12:7-9). Michael is the angel who
is the protector of God’s people (Dn 12:1a).
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of Job - Part 28[PDF]