Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 36)
March 29, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 36 (Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent)

Elihu continued and said: 
‘Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
   for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf. 
I will bring my knowledge from far away,
   and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 
For truly my words are not false;
   one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. 

‘Surely God is mighty and does not despise any;
   he is mighty in strength of understanding. 
He does not keep the wicked alive,
   but gives the afflicted their right. 
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
   but with kings on the throne
   he sets them for ever, and they are exalted. 
And if they are bound in fetters
   and caught in the cords of affliction, 
then he declares to them their work
   and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly. 
He opens their ears to instruction,
   and commands that they return from iniquity. 
If they listen, and serve him,
   they complete their days in prosperity,
   and their years in pleasantness. 
But if they do not listen, they shall perish by the sword,
   and die without knowledge. 

‘The godless in heart cherish anger;
   they do not cry for help when he binds them. 
They die in their youth,
   and their life ends in shame. 
He delivers the afflicted by their affliction,
   and opens their ear by adversity. 
He also allured you out of distress
   into a broad place where there was no constraint,
   and what was set on your table was full of fatness. 

‘But you are obsessed with the case of the wicked;
   judgement and justice seize you. 
Beware that wrath does not entice you into scoffing,
   and do not let the greatness of the ransom turn you aside. 
Will your cry avail to keep you from distress,
   or will all the force of your strength? 
Do not long for the night,
   when peoples are cut off in their place. 
Beware! Do not turn to iniquity;
   because of that you have been tried by affliction. 
See, God is exalted in his power;
   who is a teacher like him? 
Who has prescribed for him his way,
   or who can say, “You have done wrong”? 

‘Remember to extol his work,
   of which mortals have sung. 
All people have looked on it;
   everyone watches it from far away. 
Surely God is great, and we do not know him;
   the number of his years is unsearchable. 
For he draws up the drops of water;
   he distils his mist in rain, 
which the skies pour down
   and drop upon mortals abundantly. 
Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
   the thunderings of his pavilion? 
See, he scatters his lightning around him
   and covers the roots of the sea. 
For by these he governs peoples;
   he gives food in abundance. 
He covers his hands with the lightning,
   and commands it to strike the mark. 
Its crashing tells about him;
   he is jealous with anger against iniquity.


After the loss of his goods, the death of his children, the wounds of his body, the words of his wife inciting him to evil, the insulting language of his comforters and the spear thrusts of so many sorrows bravely received, Job ought to have been praised by his judge for the strength of his constancy – but Job is not now going to be called out of this world. He is about to receive back twofold, he is about to be restored to his former health, to enjoy his restored possessions longer, so Almighty God is obliged to reprove him whom he preserves with strict justice in case Job’s very victory should lay him low with the sword of pride.
There is nothing, is there, that so commonly slays people than consciousness of their own virtue. It puffs them up with self-satisfaction and at the same time empties them of the truth; it suggests that they are sufficient unto themselves to achieve their rewards and at the same time diverts them from the will to amend. Job, then, was just before his scourges, but he remained more so after them; before them he was praised by the mouth of God; after them and because of them he grew in stature. As a pipe of ductile metal is lengthened by hammering, so Job rose in God’s esteem the more he was chastised. But he who stood so firm in virtue when struck down needed to be humbled. He needed to be humbled so that the arrows of pride should not pierce that sturdy breast which the wounds already received had certainly failed to pierce. It was necessary to search out someone who surpassed Job – but what about God’s words: Have you seen my servant Job, that there is no one like him in all the earth? How then could Job be humbled by comparison with another when God himself had attested that there was no one like him? What, then, was left but for the Lord himself to describe his own accomplishments? So he asks: Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? And again: Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Or: Have you commanded the morning ever since your days began and caused the dawn to know its place?

Who can do these things but the Lord? Yet a human being is asked so that he may learn that he is unable to do these things, so that a man who has grown limitless in virtue and is surpassed by no other man may know he is surpassed by God and so avoid elation. But how highly is he exalted who is so sublimely humbled! How great is the victory of the man who has been brought low by comparison with God! How much greater than a man is he who is shown by the witness of creation to be less than God! He is very mighty who is proved by such questioning to be not at all mighty. (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, 27)

Musical Selection (Chris Rice)

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


God of loving-kindness,
enlighten the hearts of your children,
who are cleansed by Lenten penance.
Be not deaf to our prayer,
for it is you who awaken within us
the very desire to serve you.
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.