Scripture: Sirach 5:1-8. Psalm 1:1-2,3, 4, 6. Mark 9:41-50:
Ben Sira (Sirach) uses words that are rather sharp and pointed. They are meant for our growth in wisdom. These are the ones that caught my attention and made me wake up to the call of wisdom this morning, “Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day.” That is a call from the inspired words of God for me to take advantage of each day as a new turning part, a daily conversion, and a change of heart and mind toward any thought or deed that is an obstacle to God working within my life. No matter who we are, there is always an area within us that needs to be opened to change and to a daily conversion of any of our selfish desires and thoughts of pride. The Scriptures help us to face ourselves each day. To look into the mirror of our life and to see who really is there.
We are also assisted in knowing who we are by our friends, our spiritual guides, and our confessor or spiritual director. We can learn much from many channels of wisdom that God gives us each day. Spiritual reading that speaks to the soul is another great help. Prayer to the Holy Spirit, the Giver of all good gifts is a primary source for wisdom which puts all things in order and helps us to see God’s bigger picture for ourselves, others, and the world.
I personally love Psalm One for it is clear, direct, and a great start for opening our minds and hearts to the rest of the 149 Psalms. It is a wisdom psalm that helps us to see clearly the path of life that leads to friendship with God. Its first line bestows a blessing on those who follow its advice; it assures us of happiness with who we are and what we do and how we can continue on in life doing good things. It is a path to God using the right departure point on our journey and staying on the course as we move through life each day. It promotes the blessing by having us meditate on the Torah (the teaching, the law, the gift). It suggests we keep pondering over God’s words in our hearts in order to sense the blessing of happiness and wholeness. We are like trees planted near flesh flowing waters. We are not chaff blown by the wind. I equated the words of the Psalm to what I learned in grade school from a bit of memorizing parts of the catechism. God made us to love God, to serve God, and to be happy with God in this life and in the next.”
The first word in the Psalm can mean “Happy” as well as Blessed. The Psalm is a great way of praying and opening up the whole book of psalms for an ongoing taste of the fruits of wisdom. “ The twenty-six beatitudes in the Psalter are not magical formulas, nor are they recipes for happiness, but they do take the question seriously and endeavor to find some solution that can make happiness possible.” (Prevost, A Short Dictionary of the Psalms, p.21) Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.