The dead son is alive (Lk 15:24-15:24)

“This son of mine

Was dead.

He is alive again!

He was lost

And is found!’

They began

To celebrate.”

 

ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν, ἦν ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη. καὶ ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the father of this returning son said that his son was dead (ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς).  Now he was alive again (ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν).  He was lost (ἦν ἀπολωλὼς) and now was found (καὶ εὑρέθη).  Thus, they began to celebrate (καὶ ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι).  Once again, there was the theme of celebrating or rejoicing when they found something or someone who was lost.  First it was the sheep, then the coin, and here the son.  Rejoice and be merry when you find something or someone who was lost!  Do you celebrate finding things or people?

The chant of the sharpened sword (Ezek 21:8-21:11)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Prophesy!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh!

Say!

‘A sword!

A sword is sharpened!

A sword is also polished!

It is sharpened

For slaughter!

It is polished

To flash

Like lightning!

How can we make merry?

You have despised

The rod.

You have despised

All discipline.

The sword is given

To be polished,

To be grasped

In the hand.

It is sharpened.

The sword is polished.

It is to be placed

In the killer’s hand.’”

This oracle of Yahweh is often called the song of the sword. Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize this chant about the importance of the sword. A sword should be sharpened and polished for the slaughter to come. The sword should be polished so that it flashes like lightning. How can they be happy and merry? They had despised the rod and all discipline. They should have a polished sword that can be easily grasped. It should be sharpened and polished before it was placed in the killer’s hand.

The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:38-51:40)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

The vengeance on Babylon (Jer 51:34-51:37)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

 

Israel shall come back rejoicing (Jer 31:12-31:14)

“They shall come.

They shall sing aloud

On the height of Zion.

They shall be radiant

Over the goodness of Yahweh,

Over the grain,

Over the wine,

Over the oil,

Over the young of the flock.

Over their herd.

Their life shall become

Like a watered garden.

They shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women

Rejoice in the dance.

The young men

With the old men

Shall be merry.

I will turn their mourning

Into joy.

I will comfort them.

I will give them gladness

For sorrow.

I will give the priests

Their fill of fatness.

My people shall be satisfied

With my goodness.’

Says Yahweh.”

The Israelites will come to the heights of Zion to sing aloud. They will be happy over the goodness of Yahweh with their grain, their wine, their oil, their flocks, and their herds. Their life will become like a watered garden. They will never again languish away. The young women will rejoice in dancing, while the young and old men will be merry. Yahweh was going to comfort them by giving them gladness for all the sorrows that they suffered. Their mourning shall turn into joy. The priests would have fat sacrifices. They will be satisfied with all the goodness of Yahweh.

Joy (Sir 30:21-30:25)

“Do not give yourself over

To sorrow!

Do not distress yourself deliberately!

A joyful heart is life itself.

Rejoicing lengthens

One’s life span.

Indulger yourself!

Take comfort!

Remove sorrow far from you!

Sorrow has destroyed many.

No advantage ever comes from it.

Jealousy shortens life.

Anger shortens life.

Anxiety brings on premature old age.

Whoever is cheerful at table,

Whoever is merry at table,

Will benefit from their food.”

Sirach reminds us not to give into sorrow. Do not deliberately distress yourself. If you are happy, you will lengthen your lifespan. Indulge yourself and take comfort in what you do. Stay away from sorrow, because it has destroyed many people, since there is no advantage to being sorrowful. Jealousy and anger will shorten your life. Anxiety brings on old age prematurely. Look at all the happy old people. If you are cheerful and merry when you eat, the food will seem that much better.

Judith and General Holofernes drink together (Jdt 12:15-12:20)

“Judith proceeded to dress herself in all her woman’s finery. Her maid went ahead of her to spread for her, on the ground before General Holofernes, the lambskins that she had received from Bagoas for her daily use in reclining. Then Judith came in and lay down. General Holofernes’ heart was ravished with her. His passion was aroused. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her from the day he first saw her. He said to her.

‘Have a drink!

Be merry with us!’

Judith said.

‘I will gladly drink, my lord,

Because today is the greatest day in my whole life.’

Then she took what her maid had prepared. She ate and drank before him. He was greatly pleased with her. He drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.”

Judith prepared to go to meet General Holofernes. She put on her best female clothes, at least for that day. Her maid preceded her with lambskins that Bagoas the eunuch had prepared so that that she could sit on the ground to eat and drink. She then went in and reclined or lay down in front of the good general. His heart was going pitter-patter as he was aroused at the sight of her. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her since he first met her. He offered her a drink of wine, which she did not refuse. He wanted her to be merry. She replied that it was greatest day of her life. She had never mentioned her dead husband or if she had children. There was never any mention of them, so maybe she had no children. Then she ate the meal that her maid had provided. Although he was pleased with her, he drank more wine than he had ever drunk in his whole life. This could be a problem.