Hired servant (Lk 15:19-15:19)

“I am no longer worthy

To be called

Your son.

Treat me

Like one

Of your hired hands.”

 

οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου· ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.

 

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 prodigal son was going to say to his father that he was no longer worthy to be called his son (οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου).  Instead, he wanted to be treated like one of his hired hands (ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου).  Luke was the only writer in the biblical literature to use this term μισθίων 3 times within this story.  μισθίων means a paid worker, a hired servant, or a hireling, but certainly not a slave.  This unique term indicated that his father had hired people to work on his farm.  Apparently, he did not use slaves.  Have you ever disgraced your parents?

Advertisements

Conscience Formation

For Christian Catholics there is a formation of conscience that is a lifelong task.  This development of a moral sense of right and wrong starts in the family with your parents.  This conscience formation continues as you have contacts with Church leaders and teachers.  Finally, the role of peers leads to a personal synthesis.  What should I do in this particular case?  I will act based on what my conscience has decided.  If it is poorly formed, I must still follow it.  If I differ from the teachings of the Church, I must try to figure out why I differ from the group.  We always need an informed conscience.

Things to be ashamed of (Sir 41:17-41:23)

“Be ashamed of sexual immorality before your father or mother!

Be ashamed of a lie before a prince or a ruler!

Be ashamed of a crime before a judge or a magistrate!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the congregation!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the people!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before your partner!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before or your friend!

Be ashamed of theft in the place where you live!

Be ashamed of breaking an oath before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of breaking an agreement before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of leaning on your elbow at meals!

Be ashamed of surliness in receiving!

Be ashamed of surliness in giving!

Be ashamed of silence before those who greet you!

Be ashamed of looking at a prostitute!

Be ashamed of rejecting the appeal of a relative!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s portion!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s gift!

Be ashamed of gazing at another man’s wife!

Be ashamed of meddling with his maidservant!

Do not approach her bed!

Be ashamed of abusive words before friends!

Do not be insulting after making a gift!

Be ashamed of repeating what you hear!

Be ashamed of revealing secrets!

Then you will show proper shame.

Then you will find favor with everyone.”

Sirach indicates a long list of things that you should really be ashamed of. They include sexual immorality, lying, crimes, law breaking, unjust dealings, theft, and breaking oaths before your parents, rulers, judges, congregations, friends, roommates, and God. Besides these actions, you should also be ashamed of bad manners at meals, surliness when giving and receiving gifts, being silent when greeted, looking at prostitutes, refusing your relatives, taking someone’s gift, gazing an someone’s wife, meddling with the female servants, abusive words among friends, insulting other’s gifts, repeating what you hear, and betraying secrets. These are the proper things to be ashamed of so that everyone will like you.

Careful speech (Sir 23:12-23:15)

“There is a manner of speaking

Comparable to death.

May it never be found

In the inheritance of Jacob.

Such conduct will be far

From the godly.

They will not wallow in sins.

Do not accustom your mouth

To coarse foul language.

This involves sinful speech.

Remember your father!

Remember your mother!

Remember them

When you sit among the great ones!

Otherwise you might forget yourself

In their presence.

You might behave

Like a fool

Through bad habit.

Then you will wish

That you had never been born.

You will curse the day of your birth.

Whoever is accustomed

To use abusive language

Will never become disciplined

As long as they live.”

Sirach warns against the manner of speaking that brings death. This could be blasphemy or some profane sinful language that should never appear among the descendants of Jacob. Notice that is Jacob and not Israel. You should watch your language and not wallow in sin, since this is ungodly. Do not get accustomed to using coarse foul vulgar language. You should remember your parents whenever you are with great people. Otherwise, you might behave like a fool with bad habits. If you do, you will wish that you were never born. You will curse the day of your birth. If you get accustomed to using abusive language, you will never be disciplined in your life, no matter how long you live.

Good friends (Prov 27:8-27:10)

“Like a bird that strays from its nest,

Is one who strays from home.

Perfume makes the heart glad.

Incense makes the heart glad.

But the soul is torn by trouble.

Do not forsake your friend!

Do not forsake the friend of your parents!

Do not go to the house of your kindred

In the day of your calamity.

Better is a neighbor who is nearby

Than kindred who are far away.”

Good friends are important. You should not stray from home just as a bird does not leave its nest. Perfume and incense make the heart glad, but trouble tears apart the soul. Do not give up on your friends or the friends of your parents. If something goes wrong, do not go to your far away family relatives but to your nearby friends and neighbors.