Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 Luke 18:9-14
All of today’s readings have one thing in common - God’s faithfulness. That wonderful gift to us is presented in three distinct contexts; one in each of the readings.
The Gospel from Luke tells of God’s faithfulness to even those who are generally scorned by society - the tax collectors - if they demonstrate contrition and humility for their sins. This passage also cautions the reader to avoid the ugly combination of self-righteousness and unwarranted judgment against one’s neighbor. The reading from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy is a beautiful tale of the faithfulness of God and of Paul. It is offered without pridefulness, without boasting and without rancor - but with great joy and a sense that Paul is preparing for his own passing…from this life to the next. As I read Paul’s words, I get the feeling that I am right there with him, listening as he reveals to Timothy the great love he has for the Lord, and how he (Paul) feels God’s incredible loving response in return. It is a touching moment of spiritual intimacy between Paul, Timothy and the Lord; and we are invited to savor it.
And the first reading for today (Sirach) is a fine example of Wisdom Literature - a segment of Sacred Scripture that holds many treasures of counsel and understanding for all of us. This particular passage prompts a special memory for me. It shares a theme also found in Psalm 34, which is the Responsorial Psalm for this Liturgy. Psalm 34 provided the inspiration for the famous hymn, “The Cry of the Poor”, (by John Foley, S.J.). Almost forty years ago, when my infant daughter was having trouble sleeping, I would gather her into my arms and softly sing that song to her, over and over. It served to calm her (and me as well). The music is hauntingly beautiful, just as the lyrics are spiritually powerful. I invite you to listen to it on You Tube Music, or wherever you find it. A brief time of meditation on the song - or any one of today’s readings - can carry you into a meaningful conversation with our God.
by: Bill Miller