FIRST READING: But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?” But Satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And so one day, while his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the asses grazing beside them, and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, and said, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God. – Job 1:6-22
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: A prayer of David. Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer spoken without guile. From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right. You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me. My mouth has not transgressed I call upon you; answer me, O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my prayer. Show your wonderful love, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes. - Psalm 17:1-7
HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT LUKE
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” - Luke 9:46-50
“The one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
by John Cassian (c.360-435)
Founder of a monastery at Marseilles
“Come,” said Christ to his apostles, and learn from me – not, to be sure, how to cast out demons with heavenly power, nor how to cleanse lepers, nor how to enlighten the blind, nor how to raise the dead… But you, he says, Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart (Mt 11,28-29). For this can be learned and practiced by everyone in general, whereas the works of signs and mighty deeds are neither always necessary and appropriate for everyone, nor are they bestowed on everyone.
Humility, then, is the teacher of all the virtues; it is the most firm foundation of the heavenly edifice; it is the Savior’s own magnificent gift. For a person may perform without danger of pride all the miracles that Christ worked if he strains after the meek Lord not because of his exalted signs but because of his patience and humility. But a person who itches to command unclean spirits, to bestow the gift of health on the sick, or to show some wondrous sign to the people is far from Christ even though he invokes the name of Christ in his displays, because by reason of his proud mind he does not follow the Teacher of humility.
Even when he was returning to his Father he prepared what I might call his testament, and he left this to his disciples: «A new commandment I give you,» he said, «that you love one another; as I have loved you, you must also love one another.» And immediately he added: «By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another» (Jn 13,34-35). He did not say: If you also perform signs and mighty deeds, but: «If you have love for one another.» Certainly no one can observe this but the gentle and the humble.