The Jewish religious leaders mock Jesus (Mt 27:41-27:43)

“In the same way,

The chief priests also,

Along with the scribes

And the elders,

Were mocking him.

They said.

‘He saved others.

He cannot save himself.

He is the King of Israel!

Let him come down

From the cross now!

Then we will believe

In him.

He trusts in God!

Let God

Deliver him now!

If he wants to!

He said.

‘I am the God’s Son.’”

 

ὁμοίως οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἐμπαίζοντες μετὰ τῶν γραμματέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων ἔλεγον

Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται σῶσαι· Βασιλεὺς Ἰσραήλ ἐστιν, καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ πιστεύσομεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν.

πέποιθεν ἐπὶ τὸν Θεόν, ῥυσάσθω νῦν εἰ θέλει αὐτόν· εἶπεν γὰρ ὅτι Θεοῦ εἰμι Υἱός.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:31-32, although Mark did not mention the elders nor the last verse about the Son of God.  In Luke, chapter 23:35, there is only a mention of leaders, without any specific indication of which leaders, while there is nothing similar in John.  Matthew said that the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the scribes (μετὰ τῶν γραμματέων), and the presbyter elders (καὶ πρεσβυτέρων) mocked Jesus in the same way as those passing by (ὁμοίως…ἐμπαίζοντες…ἔλεγον).  These religious leaders said that Jesus had saved others (Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν).  Why could he not save himself (ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται σῶσαι)?  If he was the King of Israel (Βασιλεὺς Ἰσραήλ ἐστιν), let him come down or descend from the cross now (καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ).  Then they would believe in him. (καὶ πιστεύσομεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Jesus trusted God (πέποιθεν ἐπὶ τὸν Θεόν), so let God deliver or rescue him, if he wanted to (ῥυσάσθω νῦν εἰ θέλει αὐτόν), since he said that he was the Son of God (εἶπεν γὰρ ὅτι Θεοῦ εἰμι Υἱός).  However, Matthew never had Jesus say anything.  These ironic mocking comments from the Jewish religious leaders indicate Matthew’s dislike for them.

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The law (Sir 33:1-33:3)

“No evil will befall

The person

Who fears the Lord.

But in trials,

They will be rescued

Again and again.

The wise

Will not hate the law.

But the hypocritical one

Is like a boat in a storm.

The sensible person

Will trust in the law.

For such a one

The law is as dependable

As a divine oracle.”

Sirach notes that if you fear the Lord, no evil will happen to you. If there are trials, you will be rescued any number of times. The wise people do not hate the law. However, the hypocritical ones are like a boat in a storm. You cannot tell what will happen. The sensible person trusts in the law because it is dependable like a divine oracle.

Wisdom is demanding (Sir 4:17-4:19)

“At first,

She will walk with them on tortuous paths.

She will bring fear upon them.

She will bring dread upon them.

She will torment them by her discipline,

Until she trusts them.

She will test them with her ordinances.

She will come straight back to them again.

She will gladden them.

She will reveal her secrets to them.

If they go astray,

She will forsake them.

She will hand them over to their ruin.”

Wisdom does not come easy. There are problems and demands. She will walk with them on dangerous paths as they will be filled with fear and dread. Her discipline will torment them until she finally trusts them. She will test them with various rules. In the end, she will return to them and gladden them, as she reveals her secrets to them. On the other hand, if they go astray and give up on her, she will bring ruin to them.

Yahweh is my shield (Ps 84:9-84:12)

“Behold our shield!

O God!

Look on the face of your anointed!

A day in your courts is better

Than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper

In the house of my God

Than live in the tents of wickedness.

Yahweh God is a sun.

Yahweh God is a shield.

He bestows favor.

He bestows honor.

No good thing does Yahweh withhold

From those who walk uprightly.

Yahweh of hosts!

Happy is everyone who trusts in you!”

This psalm ends with the psalmist reminding people on how to be happy, trust in Yahweh. Yahweh is his shield and protector. The psalmist wants God to look at his anointed one. He believes that one day in the courts of the Temple was better than 1,000 days elsewhere. He was happy to be a Temple door keeper than live in the tents of the wicked. Yahweh was his sun and shield at the same time. Yahweh had bestowed favors and honors on him. Yahweh does not hold back anything from the upright. Everyone who trusts in Yahweh is happy. How to be happy, trust in Yahweh.

Blessed be Yahweh (Ps 28:6-28:7)

“Blessed be Yahweh!

He has heard the sound of my pleadings.

Yahweh is my strength!

Yahweh is my shield!

In him my heart trusts!

So I am helped!

My heart exults!

With my song

I give thanks to him.”

Yahweh is to be blessed. He has heard the sounds of his pleadings. Yahweh is his strength and shield against all enemies. His heart trusts in Yahweh since he has been helped. This is more thanksgiving than pleading. His heart exalted so that he could sing a song of thanksgiving.

The prayer of Judith for the future (Jdt 9:4-9:6)

“O God, my God,

Hear me also, a widow!

You have done these things,

Those things that went before

And those things that followed.

You have designed the things that are now.

You have designed those things that are to come.

What you had in your mind has happened.

The things that you decided on presented themselves.

Here we are!

All your ways are prepared in advance.

Your judgment is with foreknowledge.”

Now Judith is asking for the God of her ancestors to help her, a poor widow. She trusts in the providence of God. He has controlled the past. He has designed things for the future. Whatever is in the mind of God will be done. So now here we are. What are we to do? God has prepared all in advance since he has foreknowledge of all that is to come to pass.