Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 31)
March 24, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 31 (Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent)

‘I have made a covenant with my eyes;
   how then could I look upon a virgin? 
What would be my portion from God above,
   and my heritage from the Almighty on high? 
Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
   and disaster the workers of iniquity? 
Does he not see my ways,
   and number all my steps? 

‘If I have walked with falsehood,
   and my foot has hurried to deceit— 
let me be weighed in a just balance,
   and let God know my integrity!— 
if my step has turned aside from the way,
   and my heart has followed my eyes,
   and if any spot has clung to my hands; 
then let me sow, and another eat;
   and let what grows for me be rooted out. 

‘If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
   and I have lain in wait at my neighbour’s door; 
then let my wife grind for another,
   and let other men kneel over her. 
For that would be a heinous crime;
   that would be a criminal offence; 
for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
   and it would burn to the root all my harvest. 

‘If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
   when they brought a complaint against me; 
what then shall I do when God rises up?
   When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? 
Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
   And did not one fashion us in the womb? 

‘If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
   or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 
or have eaten my morsel alone,
   and the orphan has not eaten from it— 
for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father,
   and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow— 
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
   or a poor person without covering, 
whose loins have not blessed me,
   and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 
if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
   because I saw I had supporters at the gate; 
then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
   and let my arm be broken from its socket. 
For I was in terror of calamity from God,
   and I could not have faced his majesty. 

‘If I have made gold my trust,
   or called fine gold my confidence; 
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
   or because my hand had acquired much; 
if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
   or the moon moving in splendour, 
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
   and my mouth has kissed my hand; 
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
   for I should have been false to God above. 

‘If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
   or exulted when evil overtook them— 
I have not let my mouth sin
   by asking for their lives with a curse— 
if those of my tent ever said,
   “O that we might be sated with his flesh!”— 
the stranger has not lodged in the street;
   I have opened my doors to the traveller— 
if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,
   by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, 
because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
   and the contempt of families terrified me,
   so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors— 
O that I had one to hear me!
   (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
   O that I had the indictment written by my adversary! 
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
   I would bind it on me like a crown; 
I would give him an account of all my steps;
   like a prince I would approach him. 

‘If my land has cried out against me,
   and its furrows have wept together; 
if I have eaten its yield without payment,
   and caused the death of its owners; 
let thorns grow instead of wheat,
   and foul weeds instead of barley.’ 

The words of Job are ended. 


How must we interpret this law of God? How, if not by love? The love that stamps the precepts of right-living on the mind and bids us put them into practice.

Listen to Truth speaking of this law: This is my commandment, that you love one another. Listen to Paul: The whole law, he declares, is summed up in love; and again: Help one another in your troubles, and you will fulfill the law of Christ The law of Christ—does anything other than love more fittingly describe it?

Truly we are keeping this law when, out of love, we go to the help of a brother in trouble. But we are told that this law is manifold. Why? Because love’s lively concern for others is reflected in all the virtues. It begins with two commands, but it soon embraces many more.

Paul gives a good summary of its various aspects. Love is patient, he says, and kind; it is never jealous or conceited; its conduct is blameless; it is not ambitious, not selfish, not quick to take offense; it harbors no evil thoughts, does not gloat over other people’s sins, but is gladdened by an upright life

The man ruled by this love shows his patience by bearing wrongs with equanimity; his kindness by generously repaying good for evil. Jealously is foreign to him. It is impossible to envy worldly desires. He is not conceited. The prizes he covets lie within; outward blessings do not elate him. His conduct is blameless, for he cannot do wrong in devoting himself entirely to love of God and his neighbor.

He is not ambitious. The welfare of his own soul is what he cares about. Apart from that he seeks nothing. He is not selfish. Unable to keep anything he has in this world, he is as indifferent to it as if it were another’s. Indeed, in his eyes nothing is his own but what will be so always. He is not quick to take offense. Even under provocation, thought of revenge never crosses his mind. The reward he seeks hereafter will be greater in proportion to his endurance.

He harbors no evil thoughts. Hatred is utterly rooted out of a heart whose only love is goodness. Thoughts that defile a man can find no entry. He does not gloat over other people’s sins. No; an enemy’s fall affords him no delight, for loving all men, he longs for their salvation. On the other hand, he is gladdened by an upright life. Since he loves others as himself, he takes as much pleasure in whatever good he sees in them as if the progress were his own.

That is why this law of God is manifold. (St. Gregory the Great; Moralia in Job)

Musical Selection (Charles Wesley)

Give me the faith which can remove 
and sink the mountain to a plain; 
give me the childlike praying love, 
which longs to build thy house again; 
thy love, let it my heart o'er-power, 
and all my simple soul devour. 

I would the precious time redeem, 
and longer live for this alone, 
to spend and to be spent for them
who have not yet my Savior known; 
fully on these my mission prove, 
and only breathe, to breathe thy love. 

My talents, gifts, and graces, Lord, 
into thy blessed hands receive; 
and let me live to preach thy word, 
and let me to thy glory live; 
my every sacred moment spend 
in publishing the sinner's Friend. 

Enlarge, inflame, and fill my heart 
with boundless charity divine, 
so shall I all my strength exert, 
and love them with a zeal like thine, 
and lead them to thy open side, 
the sheep for whom the Shepherd died.


In your wisdom, O God,
you have provided remedies for our human weakness.
Grant that we may joyfully accept your healing grace
and show its effect in the holiness of our lives.
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.