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.

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Loss of the light (Eccl 12:1-12:2)

“Remember also your creator

In the days of your youth,

Before the days of trouble came.

The years draw near

When you will say.

‘I have no pleasure in them.’

Before the sun is darkened,

Before the light is darkened,

Before the moon is darkened,

Before the stars are darkened,

The clouds will return

With the rain.”

After the happy youth, the days of trouble begin. You should remember your creator when your years draw near to an end. No longer will you have the same pleasure. The sun, the moon, and the stars will darken on you. The clouds will come back after the rain. This seems to imply that aging will bring the loss of sight or a growing blindness, what we might call cataracts.