Scripture: lectionary 349. May29. Sirach 36:18.104.22.168-17. Psalm 79: 22.214.171.124. Mark 10:32-45:
Sirach often offers us thoughts about God as our loving Creator. Today we have a passage that brings this out. In fact, this section of Sirach is used in the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours for Morning Praise every once every fourth week. This wonderful passage is thus among the specially chosen psalms and hymns that are prayed by the whole Church during a given week. There are four weeks of such psalms, hymns, and prayers and often they are prayers which praise God the Creator. That is precisely the nature of today’s selection from the wisdom of Sirach. For Orthodox, Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Catholics the wisdom of Solomon belongs to the inspired works of the Old Testament. It was found in both Hebrew and Greek in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but we know the entire work only in the Greek of the Septuagint, the first translation of the Hebrew Bible into another language. Most Protestants follow the canon of the Hebrew Bible which leaves out the deuterocanonical works of the Bible. Often they are added to study bibles in order to understand them as apocrypha or as devout books which are very good but not divinely inspired. Catholics believe they are and some scholars from the Dominican order say that the Septuagint is also divinely inspired. They are excellent for spiritual reading and as a supplement to know more about the Bible. They are not harmful!
Sirach honors and praises God who is ever present and faithful to the works of his hands in all of creation, in all of the universe, and especially in the world of the first century before Christianity was born. They are hopeful and exude hope throughout the book of Sirach. We learn about the wisdom of God and the God of all hopefulness for us.
In the Gospel of Mark we always see Jesus and hear him as a teacher who is helping his followers, the disciples to learn what it really means to follow him as their teacher. In the passage we see that they are not absorbing the message of the Cross and the suffering that Jesus will go undergo in his way of the Cross. Mark definitely is the Gospel of the Cross among the four evangelists. They are missing the point of Jesus direct saying that he iterates on three different occasion that it is necessary that he suffer, die, and then rise from the dead. The disciples are concerned about their status in the reign of God and who is the greatest among them. They are still selfish and slow to learn what Jesus is teaching. They are not sinning in this but certainly are not on the journey wholeheartedly with Jesus. Sin is completely missing the mark or the purpose of being united to God and to Jesus. They are not deliberately doing this but are not focused on the divine words of Jesus. We all fall into thinking our reality is what counts and often forget the bigger picture involved in discipleship and holiness. We are not with it! We often drift away from realizing the presence of Jesus now, today, and always. We wander off from the way of his journey—the royal road of the Cross. We finally get some wisdom and when we start realizing that discipleship is a lifelong process. We then know it and are apt to do something about it.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.