20th Sunday After Pentecost, October 11, 2015
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
“Oh, that I knew where I might find him.” The heart-felt cry of Job comes forth as a longing to be vindicated. If only Job could gain access to God, he will be justified! Job knows that God will not be violent with him, but will listen to his assertion of innocence (6) and acquit him (7). But where is God? Why is He inaccessible?
Although Job longs to meet God, he is desperately aware of God’s absence. However, Job also knows that if he cannot find God, God can find him; “he knows the way that I take” (10). Job is confident that if God chooses to put him to the test, he will come forth as gold, declared innocent (10–11). But God is not acting fairly or legally; he does whatever he pleases (13), and that is only for Job’s suffering. Job is fighting in the dark against an unassailable and an inaccessible opponent. However, Job will go on fighting (17).
The author of Hebrews reminds us that God’s word is trustworthy and full of living power. God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword, able to cut into our deepest thoughts; exposing us for who we really are.
Returning to the theme of Christ as our High Priest, the writer speaks at some length of the superiority of Christ’s priesthood (4:14–10:18). Because Jesus endured all the temptations we endure, he is fully dependable. We can rely on him to supply every grace we need (see 2:17–18).
How is it possible to be so close and yet so far away? The rich young ruler asks Jesus how he can earn salvation. Jesus tells him; however, the possessions of this good man kept him from responding (10:17–22). This sad incident is an object lesson for his disciples – and us: Wealth can keep us from seeing our need for God (10:23–27). Both present blessings and eternal life belong to those who forsake all to follow Christ (10:28–31).
Tyranny of the Dailyness
It is not a coincidence, that Ordinary Time is the longest season of the Church year. True character is seldom revealed in times of celebration. The essence of who we are and what we believe comes through as we struggle with the “tyranny of the dailyness.”
As we battle fatigue from set backs, disappointments, and challenges, we find ourselves commiserating with Job, searching for glimpses of God; wondering where He is. In times of complacency, we catch ourselves identifying with the rich young ruler, hesitant to give up comfort and security in order to follow God.
In the ordinary times of life, God’s Word reveals the truth about our character. More importantly, it shows us our continual need for a Savior who has experienced the “tyranny of the dailyness” and has overcome it through His death and resurrection.
Prayer for Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – Merciful God, make me aware of Your grace that surrounds and guides me, empowering Your good works within me; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B