Do not despise the little ones (Mt 18:10-18:10)

“Take care!

Do not despise

One of these little ones!

I tell you!

In heaven,

Their angels

Continually see the face

Of my Father in heaven.”

 

Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς.

 

This is a unique saying about not scorning the little ones that is only found here in Matthew.  Jesus said that they should be careful or see not to despise, scorn, or disregard any one of these little ones (Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  In a solemn proclamation, “I tell you” (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν), he said that the angels of the little ones in heaven (ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς) always or continually see the face of his heavenly Father (διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  This obviously is an allusion to the concept of guardian angels, especially for the little ones.

Disciplined eating and sleeping (Sir 31:19-31:22)

“How ample a little is

For a well-disciplined person.

He does not breathe heavily

When in bed.

Healthy sleep depends

On moderate eating.

He rises early.

He feels fit.

The distress of sleeplessness

Is with the glutton.

The distress of nausea

Is with the glutton.

The distress of colic

Is with the glutton.

If you are overstuffed with food,

Get up to vomit.

You will have relief.

Listen to me!

My child!

Do not disregard me!

In the end,

You will appreciate my words.

In everything you do,

Be moderate!

No sickness will overtake you.”

If you are a well disciplined person, you do not need a lot of food. You should not breathe heavily or snore in bed. In fact, good sleep depends on moderate eating habits. If you get up early, you will feel fit. Being a glutton can cause sleeplessness, nausea, and indigestion. However, if you eat too much, just leave the table and go vomit. Thus we have a hint of bulimia. Sirach wants you to listen to his words. Do not disregard them, because you will appreciate them later in life. You should be moderate in all that you do, in order to avoid any kind of sickness.

The miser (Sir 14:3-14:10)

Riches are inappropriate

For a small minded person.

What use is wealth to a miser?

What he denies himself,

He collects for others.

Others will live in luxury on his goods.

If one is mean to oneself,

To whom will one be generous?

He will not enjoy his own riches.

No one is worse

Than one who is grudging to himself.

This is the punishment for their meanness.

If ever they do good,

It is my mistake.

In the end,

They reveal their meanness.

The miser is an evil person.

They turn away.

They disregard people.

The eye of the greedy person

Is not satisfied with their share.

Greedy injustice withers the soul.

A miser begrudges bread.

Thus it is lacking at his table.”

Sirach reminds us of the miser or the stingy greedy person. Wealth is wasted on these people. These misers deny themselves the pleasure of their own wealth. In fact, others live in luxury on the goods that they collected. If you are mean to yourself, how will you be generous to others. You should enjoy your own riches. The misers are punished for their meanness by themselves and their begrudging ways. If misers ever do anything good, it is by mistake, because they are evil people. They turn away and disregard other people. These greedy people are never satisfied with their share. They never share their bread with anyone.

The decree is against one group of disruptive people (Greek text only)

“I asked my counselors how this peace might be accomplished. Haman excels among us in sound judgment. He is distinguished for his unchanging good will and steadfast fidelity. Thus he has attained the second place in the kingdom. He pointed out to us that among all the nations in the world there is scattered a certain hostile people, who have laws contrary to those of every nation. They continually disregard the ordinances of kings. Thus the unifying of the kingdom that we honorably intend cannot be brought about. We understand that this people and it alone, stands constantly in opposition to every nation, perversely following a strange manner of life and laws. They are ill-disposed to our government. They do all the harm they can so that our kingdom may not attain stability.”

This great peaceful king asked his counselors how peace could be achieved and maintained. His number two man, Haman had sound judgment, good will, and fidelity. He pointed out that there was one ethnic group of people scattered among the 127 provinces who were hostile to all the over nations and people. They disregarded the royal ordinances. They have a strange perverse life style with their own laws. They do not like our government and they are ruining any stability that we might attain. Interesting enough, these Persian kings were tolerant and not looking for uniformity. In fact, these are like many of the complaints against the Jews in the later Hellenistic period thus indicating its origin. There is no indication that Persians ever disliked the Jews, since Nehemiah was a cup bearer as a Jew to this same king. Clearly this is the work of Haman who disliked a certain group of so-called outsiders. However, there is no specific mention of Jews in this Greek text.