Pray to your heavenly Father (Mt 7:11-7:11)

“If you then,

Who are evil,

Know how

To give good gifts

To your children,

How much more

Will your Father,

Who is in heaven,

Give good things

To those

Who ask him!

 

εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς δώσει ἀγαθὰ τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 11:13, indicating a common Q source, except that Luke mentioned giving the Holy Spirit instead of giving good things.  Even the evil humans (εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες), know how to give good gifts to their children (οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν,).  How much more will your heavenly Father (πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) give you good things (δώσει ἀγαθὰ), if you were to ask for them (τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν).  Ask, and it will be granted.  Prayer to the heavenly Father is easy.

Unacceptable sacrifices (Sir 34:21-34:27)

“If one sacrifices ill-gotten goods,

The offering is blemished.

The gifts of the lawless

Are not acceptable.

The Most High is not pleased

With the offerings of the ungodly.

He does not forgive sins

For a multitude of sacrifices.

Like one who kills a son,

Before his father’s eyes,

Is the person

Who offers a sacrifice

From the property of the poor.

The bread of the needy

Is the life of the poor.

Whoever deprives them of it

Is a murderer.

To take away a neighbor’s living

Is to commit murder.

To deprive an employee of his wages

Is to shed blood.”

There are some sacrifices that are not acceptable to the Lord. Sirach points out that stolen or ill-gotten goods sacrificed are blemished and thus unacceptable. Even good gifts from the lawless and the ungodly will not be acceptable. A lot of sacrifices do not forgive sins. If you sacrifice the property of the poor, you are like a person killing a son before his own father. The bread of the poor is needed for their life. You are a murderer when you take bread from the poor. If you take away the living of your neighbor, you are a murderer. To deprive anyone of their wages is like shedding their blood. In other words, to steal from the poor or take away their livelihood is like murdering them.

When to leave a banquet (Sir 32:10-32:13)

“Lightning travels

Ahead of thunder.

Approval precedes

A modest person.

Leave in good time!

Do not be the last!

Go home quickly!

Do not linger!

Amuse yourself there,

To your heart’s content.

But do not sin

Through proud speech.

But above all,

Bless your Maker

Who fills you With his good gifts.”

Sirach thinks that there is a proper time to leave a banquet. Just as lightening precedes thunder by a few seconds, so too does approval precede a modest person. Do not be the last one to leave a banquet. Do not hang around, but go home quickly. While you are there at the banquet, amuse yourself to your heart’s content, but do not use sinful proud speech. More than anything else, bless your creator who has given you all his good gifts and graces.