Poem on trust (Jer 3:19-3:20)

“I thought

How would I set you

Among my children?

How would I give you

A pleasant land?

How would I give you

The most beautiful heritage

Of all the nations?

I thought

You would call me,

My Father!

I thought

That you would not turn

From following me.

Surely,

As a faithless wife

Leaves her husband,

So have you been faithless to me,

O house of Israel!’

Says Yahweh.”

This seems to be a thoughtful poem about the lack of trust on the part of the Israelites. Yahweh, via Jeremiah, was thinking about his children, the Israelites. He wanted to give them a pleasant land, the most beautiful heritage among all the countries of the world. They then would call Yahweh father. They would not turn away from him. However, they turned out to be like faithless wives, who leave their husbands. So too, the house of Israel has been faithless to him. There is no mistaking his thoughts and intentions.

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Good banquet manners (Sir 31:12-31:18)

“Are you seated

At the table of the great?

Do not be greedy at it!

Do not say.

‘How much food there is here!’

Remember that a greedy eye

Is a bad thing.

What has been created greedier

Than the eye?

Therefore it sheds tears

For any reason.

Do not reach out your hand

For everything you see!

Do not crowd your neighbor

At the dish!

Judge your neighbor’s feelings

By your own.

In every matter,

Be thoughtful!

Eat what is set before you,

Like a well brought-up person.

Do not chew greedily!

You might give offense.

Be the first to stop eating!

This befits good manners.

Do not be insatiable!

You might give offense.

If you are seated

Among many persons,

Do not help yourself

Before they do.”

When you go to a banquet with great people, do not be greedy. Do not say “wow, this is a lot of food.” Sirach warns that a greedy eye is a bad thing. In fact eyes are the greediest since they also cry. Do not reach out for everything on the table. Don’t crowd your neighbor when you are eating. Be thoughtful of other people’s feelings. Eat like a well breed person. Do not greedily chew your food. Be the first one to stop eating. Don’t keep eating. Let others go before you when you go to get food. Sirach wanted everyone to have good banquet manners.

Conversations among fools (Sir 27:11-27:15)

“The conversation of the godly

Is always wise.

But the fool changes

Like the moon.

Among stupid people,

Limit your time.

But among thoughtful people

Linger on.

The talk of fools

Is offensive.

Their laughter

Is wantonly sinful.

Their cursing or swearing

Makes one’s hair stand on end.

Their quarrels make

Others stop their ears.

The strife of the proud

Leads to bloodshed.

Their abuse

Is grievous to hear.”

Sirach talks about the conversations of fools. Certainly, the conversations of the godly are always wise. However, the fools change their mind like the changes in the moon. You should stay away from stupid people, but linger with thoughtful people. If you listen to the talk of fools, you will see that it is offensive, with their random sinful cursing and swearing that will make your hair stand on end. You should not listen to their quarrels. The arguments of these proud fools will lead to bloodshed. It is very difficult to listen to these foolish conversations.