Sirach 17:20-24: The Penitent
Monday, June 1, 2015
To the penitent God provides a way back . . .
This is good news for us indeed. And when we want to confront our enemies with outrage and violence, we will want to look at how God always provides a way back to unity and wholeness.
God encourages those who are losing hope . . .
This is also good news for us since we so easily and so frequently lose hope. God always has hope in abundance for us and sends us a multitude of small and enormous signs. We must be open to the little miracles God sends us each day.
God chooses for them the lot of truth . . .
This is absolutely good news for us. Like a loving parent whose child has chosen desert rather than a substantial meal, God is always steering us in the direction of nurturing relationships, nourishing habits and loving communities. Sometimes we are disappointed when we discover that the people, places and customs in our lives shows signs of weakness or even corruption. This is when we must remember that God’s love can achieve all impossibilities.
Jesus says: For humans it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God. (Mark 10:27)
Further on in this reading, Ben Sirach describes God as hating and loathing the unjust and ungodly. Use the scripture link to read other versions of these verses and contemplate the idea that what Ben Sirach describes as “hatred” is an intense and impassioned perseverance in calling one who has left the sheepfold. Let us contemplate the idea that God’s “loathing” is an intense and relentless persistence to love our enemies into goodness. When we view God’s word in this way, we discover that the yawning gaps and deep sorrows in our lives suddenly have new life in kingdom justice.
And so we pray to the loving Trinity . . .
God provides a way back . . . and so must we provide a bridge to those who have wounded us. Loving God, help us to allow you to convert all harm to good.
God encourages the hopeless with outrageous hope . . . and so must we bring confidence to those in despair. Hopeful God, fill us with your Spirit of peace and serenity.
God chooses for us the path of truth when we have strayed . . . and so must we bring Christ’s light to a world hungering for justice and compassion. Saving God, bring us Jesus’ understanding, courage and wisdom.
We know that for us much of this impossible . . . but for you all things are possible. Shelter us in your truth, nourish us in your hope, and transform us in your loving care.