Today’s 1st Reading from the Book of Job is so insightful and applicable for the season we are about to enter: Lent and for World Marriage Day, which we celebrate today. It’s barely been a month since the Christmas season ended and now Lent begins in ten days. Are you ready? Job tells us that “life on earth is a drudgery” and that we are slaves “who long for the shade.” Why is it drudgery and who is the shade for which we long? Who is Job longing for? This reading from chapter seven reminds me of the Fall of Adam and Eve and the consequences they suffered and we are still suffering to this day.
As you may know, Pope St. John Paul II’s catechesis called “Men and Women He Created Them – A Theology of the Body”, reminds us in the first sections that in the beginning we were created holy and beautiful, naked without shame in original innocence, unity and solitude. But, the Fall happened and what were the results? The consequence of the original sin of Adam and Eve, which we inherit, is recorded in the Book of Genesis 3:16-20. It is profoundly important if we are going to understand our brokenness and concupiscence. Suffering is imposed as the temporal consequence of original sin. Eve and her descendants will suffer domination from their spouses and also be in pain while bearing children, but which truly causes more pain. While I am not a woman, I believe the pain of being “used” and “abused” is far worst than the pain of childbearing. For Adam and his descendants, they will suffer as family “providers” because it will be toilsome to earn their bread. Also, a fruit of the Fall is that men will forget and suffer as their fatherhood gets attacked. The painful “battle of the sexes” began here! St. John Paul covers all this in the sections called “Christ appeals to the beginning and calls us “original man” and “Christ appeals to the human heart” and calls fallen man “historical man.”
Job states he longs for rest or shade and “when shall I arise.” He will arise with the coming of the Messiah and our redemption. Our joyful response to the reading is from Psalm 147 – “praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.” This naturally reminds us of the prophet Isaiah, which was Christ’s first proclamation He read in the synagogue in Capernaum, which almost got Him killed.
All of us, since we are no longer slaves to sin and death, unless we choose to be with our free will, should all take to heart St. Paul’s words in the second reading from 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23. We should all feel an obligation to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and His great love and mercy for us as we approach the season of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer and abstinence. We all need a savior from our sins. While the Gospel for today: Mark 1:29-39 shows the affects of original sin: sickness and death, it also shows the power of Jesus as the Lord of the natural and supernatural. He has redeemed the body and all of creation with His Death and Resurrection, our destiny is with Him.
Jesus alone has the power to heal us and this is the “shade” Job was longing and yearning for. Christ conquered the devil with the same weapons he used against us: a virgin, a tree and death. Mary, the wood of the Cross, and the crucifixion of Jesus redeemed Eve, the tree of knowledge and Adam’s death. Jesus is the one “everyone is looking for.”
Fr. Tom DeSimone was ordained a priest on May 13, 2006, the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. He most recently served as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in White Plains, NY. He joins the staff of the Theology of the Body Institute on a three year leave from the Archdiocese of New York, to become the Institute’s first full time spiritual advisor and Director of Clergy Development.