Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom 3:1-9’

Sirach 11:29-34: Guests and Strangers – Care in Choosing Friends

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Biblia de América which I have been using as a resource lately, names this citation differently from our NAB as we can see from the title above.  In addition, it has references to Proverbs 1:10-16, 5:10 and 6:1 for this citation which, if you have time to look at them, will add some depth to today’s reading.  The footnotes in this same Biblia remind us that sowers of discord are to be avoided at all cost, as their deceits create structures of illusion – they are the people of the darkness, people of deception and lies . . . with a spark he sets many coals afire.

I am thinking of a counterpoint to this image.  I am remembering the description of the souls of the just from this past Sunday’s first reading.  These souls are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.  They seemed in the view of the foolish to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.  But they are in peace.  For if before men they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.  As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.  In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge the nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their king forever.  Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.  (Wisdom 3:1-9)  [My bold font.]

This is not a call to exclusivity; rather, it is a call to universality.  It is a universal invitation to openness, to mercy, to fidelity, to love.  We are each invited to lead lives worthy of the creator – honest and compassionate lives, faithful and constant lives, forgiving and loving lives.  Ardent lives which burn with the fire of Christ’s love.

It is also a call which carries with it a degree of heat – the fire of the gold smith’s forge – but we ought not fear this furnace.  It is the crucible of life with which God prunes and disciplines us . . . for when we are tried and tested, so then are we proved.  And when we are proved we are graced.  When we are graced we are holy.

There is a clear choice before us:  we may become like the sparks which set many tongues wagging and many hearts gossiping.  Or we may be the spark which sets souls ablaze with the fire and love of Christ.

We must take care in choosing our associates and friends for they are either strangers, sowers of discord who are to be avoided; or they are guests who are soul mates to be welcomed into our hearts.

St. Paul tells us (Romans 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:1, Galatians 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:5) that we are to test the spirit for this is how we will find if travelers are either the tinder of deceit . . . or the kindling of the Pentecost.

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

Written on November 6, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Titus 3:8-10Sparks Among the Stubble

Friday, February 10, 2017sparks-586065_960_720

This reflection is adapted from a Favorite written on All Souls’ Day, November 2, 2009 and is posted today for those who feel lost in the present climate of fear and anger.  

The letter to Titus is brief but contains powerful words; we read some of them today.  They have a great deal to teach us and when we reflect on them in light of today’s celebration – the celebration of All Souls – and they tell us that we have some place deeper to go . . . the body of Christ.

The Mass readings today are the 23rd Psalm along with Wisdom 3:1-9, Romans 5:5-11 and John 6:37-40.  In the Old Testament reading we have the beautiful image of souls flying like sparks rising from a burning stubble.  In the Psalm we receive great comfort in all trials.  In Paul’s letter and in John’s Gospel we have the message that Christ has returned to take each of us into him . . . to return each of us to the Creator where we rightly belong.

As we reune and commune with our loved ones today who have gone before us, let us think of how we suffer for one another that we might be together.  And then let us take on the bigger challenge offered by Christ – that we might suffer as gladly for those who are our enemies.

In his letter to Titus, Paul cautions that once we make an overture to those who have left God’s side we must allow Christ himself to step in so that he might do what is necessary to turn all back to the saving power of God.  As we sing with the souls of the departed that shine and dart about as sparks through stubble, as we receive the love of God poured out into our hearts . . . and know that this doctrine is sure . . . we must allow ourselves to be raised in and with Christ so that we might dart and fly among the stubble of the world to bring God’s transformative message of the promise of eternal life in Christ.

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