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The Bible In A Year: Day 49

Numbers 3
Job 2
Psalm 46

In numbers 3 there is a census of the tribe of Levi. The Levites are counted separately from the tribes because they are set aside for service to God. The services they render are also laid out in this chapter, and it is kind of analogous to the role of deacons in the church today.

In the tabernacle, and later the temple, there were three levels or types of ordained men that served, just like there’s three degrees of Holy Orders in the church today.

“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.” Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate . The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called “ordination,” that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders: Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church.

CCC 1554

Job 2

The opening of this chapter echos the first one, there is a council in heaven and God asks Satan his thoughts on Job. In the first round, Satan was given the permission to take everything from job materially and even his children, but he wasn’t allowed to touch Job himself. He claims that this is why Job remains faithful, and that afflicted with illness, even a righteous man like job will curse God.

And he isn’t necessarily wrong here, there’s many people who would break under these circumstances and possibly only after illness touched them and not just their family, but Job is a thoroughly righteous man, and he will not bend in his honor, respect and adoration towards God.

Job does not allow misfortunes to turn him away from God and the devotion that is owed to him. Rather, he sets an example of patience, in soul and in body, in order that we might not yield to the devil through loss of earthly possessions, the death of loved ones, or any affliction of the body


God grants this permission that was with withheld the first time around, with the caveat that he cannot kill him.

So Satan afflicted Job with some kind of advanced skin disease that had several severe symptoms. To alleviate these symptoms, Job resorts to debridement of his flesh, he essentially removes diseased skin with a piece of broken pottery.

Job is in such bad shape that his wife recommended he curse God and die. This could be seen as her having pity on his condition and recommending blasphemy so that God would strike him dead, or antagonism against him because she has also lost everything and is now bitter and filled with hate of the only survivor besides herself. Really I can see either position here, but for the sake of Job I like to think she was speaking from a position of compassion.

Jobs three friends enter the story at this point, they came together to see him and we’re so stricken by the sight of his condition that they wept, tore their robes and put dust on their heads. They then sat in silence with him for seven days in mourning. I believe they were so shocked by everything that had happened that it took a long time till they could even think of what to say.

I’ve been to many funerals in my life and sometimes the death is so tragic that “I’m sorry for your loss” just seems to not be enough to express your remorse and empathy towards the surviving family members. Now I think of this times 10 and can completely understand why they were silent for seven days. If only his wife had joined them in silence too.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Numbers 4
Job 3
Psalm 47
Mark 10

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