Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 30)
March 23, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 30 (Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent)

‘But now they make sport of me,
   those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
   to set with the dogs of my flock. 
What could I gain from the strength of their hands?
   All their vigour is gone. 
Through want and hard hunger
   they gnaw the dry and desolate ground, 
they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes,
   and to warm themselves the roots of broom. 
They are driven out from society;
   people shout after them as after a thief. 
In the gullies of wadis they must live,
   in holes in the ground, and in the rocks. 
Among the bushes they bray;
   under the nettles they huddle together. 
A senseless, disreputable brood,
   they have been whipped out of the land. 

‘And now they mock me in song;
   I am a byword to them. 
They abhor me, they keep aloof from me;
   they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me. 
Because God has loosed my bowstring and humbled me,
   they have cast off restraint in my presence. 
On my right hand the rabble rise up;
   they send me sprawling,
   and build roads for my ruin. 
They break up my path,
   they promote my calamity;
   no one restrains them. 
As through a wide breach they come;
   amid the crash they roll on. 
Terrors are turned upon me;
   my honour is pursued as by the wind,
   and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud. 

‘And now my soul is poured out within me;
   days of affliction have taken hold of me. 
The night racks my bones,
   and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest. 
With violence he seizes my garment;
   he grasps me by the collar of my tunic. 
He has cast me into the mire,
   and I have become like dust and ashes. 
I cry to you and you do not answer me;
   I stand, and you merely look at me. 
You have turned cruel to me;
   with the might of your hand you persecute me. 
You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it,
   and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. 
I know that you will bring me to death,
   and to the house appointed for all living. 

‘Surely one does not turn against the needy,
   when in disaster they cry for help. 
Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
   Was not my soul grieved for the poor? 
But when I looked for good, evil came;
   and when I waited for light, darkness came. 
My inward parts are in turmoil, and are never still;
   days of affliction come to meet me. 
I go about in sunless gloom;
   I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. 
I am a brother of jackals,
   and a companion of ostriches. 
My skin turns black and falls from me,
   and my bones burn with heat. 
My lyre is turned to mourning,
   and my pipe to the voice of those who weep. 


After revealing his sublime feats of heroism the saintly Job seeks a helper, knowing as he does that his own merits are not enough for him to reach the highest peak. And on whom indeed does he rest his gaze but the only-begotten Son of God, who took a human nature, labouring in mortality, and in so doing brought nature his saving help? For he it was who, once he was made man, brought his help to us men so that, since the way back to God did not lie open to man left to himself, it might be opened through God-made-man. We are a long way from being just and immortal, unjust and mortal as we are. But between him who is immortal and just, and us who are neither the one nor the other, the Mediator of God and man has appeared: and he is both mortal and just, having death in common with men and justice with God. And because through our baseness we are far from the heights he occupies, he joins in his own person the lowest with the highest, to make a way for us back to God.
The blessed Job, then, seeks this Mediator, speaking as it were for the whole Church, when having said: Who will grant me a helper? he aptly goes on, that the Almighty one may hear my petition. For he knew that men’s prayers for the repose of eternal freedom can only be heard through their advocate. Of him, we are told through John the Apostle that: If anyone has sinned we have Christ the just man as advocate with the Father; and he is the propitiation for our sins, not for ours alone but also for those of the whole world. And Paul the Apostle speaks of him as: The Christ who died for us, and indeed who rose again, who is at the right hand of God, and who intercedes for us. It is for the only-begotten Son of God to intercede with his co-eternal Father, presenting himself as man; and then his having made intercession on behalf of human nature amounts to taking up that nature to the level of his own divine nature.

The Lord intercedes for us not in words, but in mercy; for what he did not wish to see condemned or lost in his chosen ones, that he set free by taking it on himself. A helper is therefore sought, that our petition might be heard: for unless some mediator intercedes for us our prayers would undoubtedly remain as if unspoken, in the ears of Almighty God. (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job)

Musical Selection

Nocte os meum perforatur doloribus
et qui me comedunt non dormiunt
a multitudine eorum consumitur vestimentum meum
comparatus sum luto
et assimilatus sum favillae et cineri.
O custos hominum 
quare posuisti me contrarium tibi
et factus sum mihi metipsi gravis 
parce mihi Domine
nihil enim sunt dies mei.
In the night my bone is pierced with sorrows: and they that feed upon me, do not sleep.  With the multitude of them my garment is consumed, and they have girded me about, as with the collar of my coat. I am compared to dirt, and am likened to embers and ashes.

O keeper of men? why hast thou set me opposite to thee, and I am become burdensome to myself? Spare me, for my days are nothing.


God of forgiveness,
listen graciously to our prayers,
so that, corrected by penance
and formed by good works,
we may faithfully observe your commandments
and come without fault to the celebration of Easter.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.