Working stiffs with demanding jobs have a word to describe this Sunday’s readings: Monday.
In fact, these readings would provide great fodder for a Monday morning meditation, giving the reader more appreciation for how easy they have it.
In our first reading (Jb 7:1-4, 6-7), Job calls life drudgery, saying he will not see happiness again. Paul tells the Corinthians in our second reading (1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23) “an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it.” It’s a self-imposed, but Holy-Inspired, sentence. And in the gospel reading (Mk 1:29-39), Jesus has just completed a full day of teaching, healing and driving out demons. The next day would demand a repeat performance in another town. “For this purpose I have come,” he says.
Workaholics might relate to Job, Paul and Jesus for their self-motivation, but these are men guided by the Holy Spirit—compelled to do what they do through their regular interactions with God the Father. They always received answers to their questions, and the necessary strength to carry on. Many workaholics also pray for strength—even if it’s just an exasperated “Give me strength!” when they reach the breaking point. Whether they know it or not, God answers them too, but the answer may not come as they expect. God likes to speak to us through each other—through co-workers, or even a boss. We just need to keep our hearts open to that message.
I’ll share my own Godly message with you from an encounter on my new job. Recently, on a particularly trying Monday, I told my new boss I was ready to leave—that this job transition from my previous gig may have been a mistake. He offered a simple message: “Have faith. Things will get better. They always do.”
He was right. Things did start getting better—thanks to his prayer and mine. I’m convinced God answered my prayer through him, just as he speaks through you or me when we comfort a fellow human being in pain.
Job, Jesus and Paul all received answers to their prayers. And though Job sounds like a lost cause, even his lament can give someone hope. We’re still reading it after centuries. We can not only relate to it, but it can sensitize us to others in pain. We are called to show them Paul’s commitment and Christ’s love in translating God’s answer to their prayer—whether their prayer was spoken or unspoken.