Gain eternal life (Mt 19:16-19:16)

“Then someone came

To Jesus.

Saying.

‘Teacher!

What good deed

Must I do

To have eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς προσελθὼν αὐτῷ εἶπεν Διδάσκαλε, τί ἀγαθὸν ποιήσω ἵνα σχῶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον;

 

This incident about the man seeking eternal can be found in Mark, chapter 10:17, and Luke, chapter 18:18, but slightly different.  This person, not a ruler as in Luke, came to Jesus (Καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς προσελθὼν αὐτῷ).  He called Jesus a teacher (εἶπεν Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted to know what one good deed he could do (τί ἀγαθὸν ποιήσω) to achieve eternal life (ἵνα σχῶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  This person wanted to know about his own personal eternal salvation, while the normal Jewish attitude would have been to talk about how they could all be saved.

Advertisements

The transplanted vine (Ezek 19:12-19:14)

“But the vine

Was plucked up

In fury.

It was cast down

To the ground.

The east wind

Dried it up.

Its fruit

Was stripped off.

Its strong stem

Was withered.

The fire

Consumed it.

Now it was transplanted

Into the wilderness,

Into a dry,

Thirsty land.

The fire has gone out

From its stem.

It has consumed

Its branches.

It has consumed

Its fruit.

Thus there remains

In it

No strong stem.

There is no scepter

For ruling.

This is a lamentation.

It is used

As a lamentation.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel continued this allegory. The good mother vine was plucked up in anger. It was cast down to the ground. The east wind dried it up. Its fruit was stripped off. The strong stem was withered. Fire consumed it. Then they transplanted it into the wilderness, the desert, a dry thirsty land. A fire consumed its stem, branches, and fruit. There no longer was a strong stem for a ruling scepter. This is a reference that Judah no longer had a ruler. Thus this was a useful lamentation.

Infidelity and punishment (Sir 48:15-48:16)

“Despite all this,

The people did not repent.

They did not forsake their sins,

Until they were carried off

As plunder

From their land.

They were scattered

Over all the earth.

The people were left,

Very few in number,

But with a ruler

From the house of David.

Some of them did

What was right,

Pleasing to God.

But others sinned

More and more.”

Despite the warnings of these two great northern prophets of Israel, Elijah and Elisha, the northern Israelites did not repent. They did not give up their sinning ways. Only when they were carried off as plunder in the captivity did they realize how bad they had been. They were scattered all over the earth. Only a few people were left. However, there was a ruler from the house of David in Judah. Some people did what was right and pleased the Lord, but many others continued to multiply their sins.

Honor (Sir 10:19-10:25)

“Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Those who fear the Lord.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Those who break the commandments.

Among family members

Their leader is worthy of honor.

Those who fear the Lord

Are worthy of honor in his eyes.

The rich find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

The eminent find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

The poor find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

It is not right to despise

An intelligent poor person.

It is not proper

To honor a sinful person.

The prince is honored.

The judge is honored.

The ruler is honored.

But none of them is greater

Than the one who fears the Lord.

Free citizens will serve

A wise servant.

An intelligent person will not complain.”

Sirach poses a series of questions and answers about honor. Humans are worthy of both honor and dishonor. Those who fear the Lord are worthy of honor, but those who do not follow the commandments are worthy of dishonor. The leader in a family is worthy of honor, but so are those who fear the Lord. Whether you are rich, eminent, or poor, your glory is in the fear of the Lord. You should not despise intelligent poor people, but you should not honor sinners. You may honor a prince, a judge, or a ruler, but none of them is greater than the one who fears the Lord. Free citizens may serve a wise servant, so that the intelligent people will not complain.

Human conduct (Sir 4:20-4:28)

“Watch for the opportune time!

Beware of evil! 

Do not be ashamed to be yourself!

There is a shame that leads to sin.

There is also a shame that is glory

There is a shame that is favor.

Do not show partiality to your own harm!

Do not show deference to your downfall!

Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment!

Do not hide your wisdom!

Wisdom becomes known through speech.

Education becomes known

Through the words of the tongue.

Never speak against the truth.

But be ashamed of your ignorance.

Do not be ashamed to confess your sins!

Do not try to stop the current of a river!

Do not subject yourself to a fool!

Do not show partiality to a ruler!

Fight to the death for truth!

The Lord God will fight for you.”

Here we have a series of reprimands about human conduct. You should be aware of evil. You should not be ashamed of yourself. There is a shame that leads to sin, but also a shame that leads to glory and favors. Watch out for your own harm and downfall. Speak out at the proper moment. You should not hide your wisdom. People know you are wise and educated by your speech and the words of your tongue. Never go against the truth. You should be ashamed of your ignorance, but not be ashamed to confess your sins. Do not go against the river current or subject yourself to a fool. Do not show partiality to a ruler, but fight to the death for truth. God will then fight for you.

Good eating manners (Prov 23:1-23:3)

“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,

Observe carefully what is before you.

Put a knife to your throat

If you have a big appetite.

Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies.

They are deceptive foods.”

If you are eating at the table of a ruler, be very observant.   Put a knife to your throat, which means don’t eat everything, if you have a big appetite. Do not eat the delicacies of the ruler, because they are deceptive foods. Be on your best behavior and eat what is given you without complaint.