The first reading for Mass today begins with the words, “Job opened his mouth and cursed his day,” and the negative feelings and emotions continue through the rest of the first reading, the responsorial psalm and the gospel today as well. What should we do? Nobody wants to think about negative, unhappy things, we would rather have positive and uplifting words to start our day with, unlike Job who cursed his day in the first reading.
Perhaps we could look through all of the words in the scriptures today, to seek out words that are joyful, positive and uplifting to focus on? But, that doesn’t seem to be very likely. The most awesome thing about today’s readings for mass though, is that right in the middle of all the negative feelings and emotions, is the example the Lord Jesus set for his disciples. He was the only positive thing in our readings today, and sometimes it is that way in our life too. When we have a really bad day and no one seems to care, Jesus does.
In the gospel today, Jesus and his disciples were traveling to Jerusalem and on the way, they encountered a Samaritan village. Jesus sent the disciples there ahead of time to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because his destination was Jerusalem. This is the part of the gospel that is pretty awesome:
“When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.”
Jesus didn’t want to go where he wasn’t welcome. But, Jesus wished the village no harm. They kept traveling to find another village that would welcome them. Jesus also didn’t want any part of the negative feelings and emotions that his disciples were experiencing at the moment, because he rebuked them.
Christ’s example in today’s gospel is recorded in very few words, maybe a verse or two. But, it changes our focus from the negativity from all of the readings for Mass today, into a more positive light. Why? Because we can make the conscious decision, like Jesus did, to stay out of negative situations, or other people’s negative emotions and feelings. We can choose to be uninvolved in things that are not life giving.
The first reading from the book of Job is about death and so is the responsorial psalm. By contrast, Christ’s words and example in today’s gospel are life giving. He affirms goodness, by rejecting negativity.
Another thing worth noting is that Jesus did not go where he wasn’t welcome. When our hearts are hardened with anger, irritation, a bad mood, an exclusive mentality, then Jesus has no room to come and live in our hearts. There is no room for Christ. We need to clear out all the negative things that weigh down our heart and our mind, before Jesus can enter in.
Today, maybe we could try to pay attention to our emotions, what negative thoughts that we allow to linger in our mind, and the unhappy or negative situations that others want to draw us into. Maybe we should just stay out of it, like Christ did, and allow our mind and our heart to clear itself of all that is not him, of all that is not good and uplifting.
Daily Mass Readings:
Job 3: 1-3, 11-17, 20-23 / Psalm 88 / Luke 9: 51-56