Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do Not Delay

February 24, 2011
Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day; For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance, you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath. Sirach 5:8-10

“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50

You are the salt of the earth
You are the salt of the earth
But if that salt has lost it's flavor
It ain't got much in its favor
You can't have that fault and be the salt of the earth!

So let your light so shine before men
Let your light so shine
So that they might know some kindness again
We all need help to feel fine (let's have some wine!)
(“Light of the World,” from Godspell by Stephen Schwartz)

If actions speak louder than words, then actions rooted in faith and obedience to Christ are stronger than other good works performed without such a foundation. The book formerly called “The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach” always amazes me as it encourages us to move in this general direction. Just yesterday we were advised that those who seek wisdom in the Lord will be embraced.

This book closes out the historical books in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament before we jump into the Prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and others. Even though written more than 2,200 years ago, the advice in this book still helps us stay on the path to maintain religious faith and integrity.

The author fills up its pages with wisdom and maxims that we would do well to learn well in our study, ask for in abundance in our piety, and put into practice in our actions.

Winnow not in every wind, and start not off in every direction. (Sirach 5:11)

Be consistent in your thoughts; steadfast be your words. A man's tongue can be his downfall. (Sirach 5:12)

Sirach connects wisdom to action in a way that complements the Gospel for today.

All of us watched the unfolding people-power events in Egypt. However, bookended around those mass peaceful demonstrations were incidents of violence against Christians in that nation. Just this week, a Coptic Christian priest was found stabbed to death in his home in a southern Egyptian city. Less than two months ago, a bomb ripped through a Coptic Church in the city of Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Day. Both incidents have set of waves of protests in the country along different lines than the political-economic protests which ousted the president earlier this month.

In our own country, we continue to witness protests in Wisconsin and now Indiana over the rights of workers to collective bargaining. I do not imply that these current events are on the same scale. However, I would say that we should read the advice in the Book of Sirach before making any comments.

A man’s tongue or his keyboard can be his downfall.