Finding Hope amidst Depression

Homily for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – B (2021)

The story of Job is an important book of the bible about the testing of a righteous man. It challenges the notion that bad things only happen to bad people. Stated another way, you must be a bad person if something bad has happened to you. If you were blind or deaf, sick or lame, then you or your parents must have done something for you to deserve punishment from God.

Job, however, was a good man by all accounts, yet God allowed Satan to test him. He lost his children, his servants, his animals, and his land – and he had no idea why. Today, we listened to the lament of a very depressed man. Perhaps, like me and like Job, you have experienced depression. When you heard these words, did you say to yourself, “I understand what he’s going through. I know that feeling.” Perhaps you feel that way right now. Let’s listen to Job’s words again:

Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?”
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.

Eventually, Job expresses hope in God in the midst of his distress and even appears to prophesy about a future incarnation of God in the flesh and standing upon the earth as well as his own resurrection:

He has put my family far from me,
and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.
My relatives and my close friends have failed me;
the guests in my house have forgotten me;

My breath is repulsive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
Even young children despise me;
when I rise, they talk against me.
All my intimate friends abhor me,
and those whom I loved have turned against me.
My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh,
and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,

This moment is a critical one for the depressed Job, he realizes that his salvation, his Redeemer, is not dead. Despite all that he must endure, he does not despair and he does not curse God; rather, he believes that even if he were to die, he would see God.

What about us? Can we have the confidence of Job? Job may have been righteous and innocent, but what if we suffer because we were not righteous? What hope do we have? Job could only hope for what we already have in Jesus Christ. For Jesus is the fulfillment of Job’s very wish: Jesus is the Redeemer who lives! He stood upon the earth in the flesh! And through His resurrection Jesus makes it possible for all of us to look forward to a resurrection in which in our own bodies we will see God in the flesh. Jesus spent his days preaching, healing, and forgiving the sins of people who both deserved and did not deserve their sufferings. It didn’t matter. He was here to bring a new era of freedom in which every sinner could be a saint, in which every unrighteous man could be made a righteous man, and in which every depressed man could have hope.

Life can depress us, literally, it can press us down. Sometimes the weights that we are under are placed upon us and sometimes we place those burdens upon ourselves. Jesus came to lift those burdens. In exchange, he gives us a lighter, more fitting load and gives us the grace and power we need to carry it. Just as he does in the Gospel today, he is seeking us out, going through every town and village, eager to find us, to heal our hearts, to forgive our sins, and to give us his righteousness. When we surrender to him, our sufferings become His sufferings. He becomes our Redeemer and he even redeems our sufferings. He makes them powerful. When we pray through our sufferings, they become the most potent prayers on earth and in heaven for they are directly linked to the heart of Jesus Christ who is our God in the flesh. Let us find courage to rejoice in these sufferings and make use of them for all who need our prayers until we see him face to face.


Do you identify with Job? Have you found hope in depression? How? Please let us know by leaving a comment or sending us a message via our Contact page. If you like our content, please be sure to click “like” and share with someone you love.

Who Wants to Be Human?

Lately, I’ve been disappointed in humanity. In particular, I’m disturbed by what’s happening to us politically. Something has gone terribly wrong and it seems to me that, every four years, we are getting larger and larger doses of ugliness and our elections portray less and less humanity. Were I an angel or an alien, I would seriously wonder who would even want to be human.

Our sorry state of political affairs is only a part of the many woes we have caused. As one rears its head, six others seen to rise with it. Dwelling on them is like a maelstrom that can suck us in and down with those around us. I know this is not our entire reality. I know there is so much good we do, but the water’s awfully murky right now, so today, I desperately need to focus on the One who, regardless of the indictments against us, wanted to be human.

This weekend, celebrating Christ the King Sunday, we read Jesus’ description of his second coming: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.” Son of Man is the title Christ preferred. Centuries before, the prophet Daniel prophesies, “As I watched, thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne [and] I saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven . . . . [N]ations and peoples of every language serve him [and] his kingship shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-14).

There is no doubt that Christ was indicating to his audience that he was the fulfillment of this prophecy. What does this tell me? God had a plan and has a plan. A plan that was woven into the fabric of time from before the beginning.

There is nothing new under the sun. Men and women were no less evil in the years after the Fall from grace, in the time of Daniel, or that of Christ than they are today; and yet, knowing how absolutely awful we could be, knowing the worst of the worst about each and every one of us, God said from all eternity, “I WANT TO BE HUMAN!”

Why?

Because God never intended humanity to be what we made it. He intended it to be what HE made it: PERFECT; and he still intends it to be perfect, even if he respects our free will. As the Son of Man, Christ provides us the very model of humanity. He was the Template in eternity by which and for whom God made humans and all of creation in the first place. We are not most human when we sin; we are most human when we imitate Christ.

The Son of Man, then, is our only hope of knowing and advancing human perfection. That he is God means the work of human perfection is possible, for all good begins with God. That he is Man means God invites man be part of the perfection process. That he is God-Man means, despite foreknowing all the events of human history would be corrupted, God created anyway; and despite foreknowing all our immorality, injustice, and depravity, God still said, “I want to be human.”

As Christians, the temptation to pull away from the rest of the world is strong. When fallen humanity is at its worst, however, God invites us to be our human best, to even more fervently manifest what it really means to be human, to know and more genuinely follow the Son of Man with all of his perfections. The world needs us to be human – to want to be human. It’s not easy, it’s a sacrifice, and it’s heroic. It’s what he wanted – to be human. I want to be human, too.


What are your thoughts on the current state of humanity? How has the your experience of the best and worst of humanity affected you? Let me know by adding a comments below or send us a message on our contact page. Let us know you enjoy our content by clicking “like”, then share with friends and family.