A reading from the Book of Sirach
This is one of the “wisdom books” in the Hebrew scriptures. Here we have observations that were true thousands of years ago and are true today.
“In tribulation is the test of the just.” Yes! The hard times often test us and reveal who we really are.
“The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had…. So too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind…. Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then that people are trusted.”
It is true. Our words say a great deal about who we really are, even though we also believe that “Actions speak louder than words.”
“Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.” How often do you give thanks to the Lord? Sometimes? Often? Every day? How about right now?
A reading from St. Paul's first Letter to the Corinthians
Paul wanted to make it clear that there is life after death. He knew that many of his fellow Jews were not certain that the resurrection of Jesus would bring everlasting life to them as well.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of death is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Imagine how powerful were those words for poor and disrespected people who were always facing hunger, poverty, and the fear of being caught living as disciples of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus gave them the hope of everlasting life. It gives us that same hope. Do you believe in everlasting life? That is our gift from Jesus. The other choice is nothingness forever.
Our loving Father has given us the gift of life that we share today, but his greatest gift for us is yet to come. Let us give thanks every day.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Here are some wisdom sayings from Jesus in the form of parables.
“No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.”
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” “You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” In these verses, Jesus is using what is called” Semitic exaggeration” to make his point about being hypocritical.
Then he switches to an agricultural image that is appropriate to the many farmers in his midst. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.” He ends this image with his main point: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.’
That is usually true, but sometimes we may say something quickly, off the top of the head and then regret it and need to apologize. The key is to speak from the deep goodness in your heart which may at times become lost in the moment.
Photograph by AbsolutVision on Upslash
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayers was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. Bill was a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.