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To: All

From: Wisdom 1:1-7

To Be Wise, a Person Must Avoid Sin


[1] Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth, think of the Lord with uprightness,
and seek him with sincerity of heart; [2] because he is found by those who do
not put him to the test, and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.
[3] For perverse thoughts separate men from God, and when his power is tested,
it convicts the foolish; [4] because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, nor
dwell in a body enslaved to sin. [5] For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from
deceit, and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts, and will be ashamed at the
approach of unrighteousness.

Wisdom, Spirit and Word


[6] For wisdom is a kindly spirit and will not free a blasphemer from the guilt of
his words; because God is witness of his inmost feelings, and a true observer of
his heart, and a hearer of his tongue. [7] Because the Spirit of the Lord has filled
the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said.

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Commentary:

1:1-6:21. These chapters form the first part of the book. The sacred writer begins
by exhorting the rulers of the earth to love righteousness, for it bestows immort-
ality (1:1-15). He goes on to expound the arguments used by the ungodly to jus-
tify their behavior (1:16-2:24). Then he takes issue with them by explaining what
lies in store after death—the separate fates of the righteous and the ungodly (3:
1-4:20). God will judge all and the ungodly will recognize their sins and be pu-
nished (5:1-23). People in positions of government have a heavy responsibility
(6:1-11), so the author invites them to love wisdom (6:12-21). In this way, on the
basis of belief in God, the book supplies answers to questions that arise from
the fact that ungodly people are often successful in this world and the righteous
seem to fail: many a just man dies prematurely, for example. It is an advance in
Revelation to set retribution the context of the after-life — thereby opening up the
way for the definitive Revelation of the New Testament.

1:1-15. The exhortation to seek righteousness is made specific here: it involves
letting oneself be guided by Wisdom. Wisdom lets one see that God will judge
every human being (vv. 8-11). Man, like everything else, was made to live: “God
did not make death” v. 13), “for he created all things that they might exist, and
the creatures of the world are wholesome” (v. 14). This is an optimistic view of
the world and of man, and one that goes right back to the first creation account
in the book of Genesis (cf. Gen 1:1-2:4). It connects death with divine punish-
ment (v. 12), but, as already pointed out in the previous verse ( a lying mouth de-
stroys the soul) physical death is not the sum total of death; it is, of course, al-
ways a sign of death, but vv. 1-12 see beyond the notion of mere physical death,
opening the way to an eschatological scenario (not very well defined as yet; New
Testament revelation will make it much plainer).

1:1-5. The sacred writer addresses “the rulers” of the earth in the first instance —
literally, “those who judge” (cf. Ps 2:10). In the Bible, ‘judging” is one of the main
prerogatives of the king, and often it means the same thing as “ruling”. By “righ-
teousness” is meant, above all, faithfulness to the divine will, dutiful observance
of the Covenant made between God and the chosen people — upright moral con-
duct. What we have here is a spiritual profile of the wise man. He must be well-
disposed to the things of God, and not have a “deceitful soul” (v. 4), and he must
be convinced that Good is the Supreme God and that everything that he does or
allows to happen is for the best. Whereas (cf. v. 5) the worst thing is to be com-
plicated and distrustful of God. So, from the very start we see this contrast that
runs right through the book, between those who are wise, prudent and just, and
who trust in God—and the ungodly and unbelievers who pay attention only to
what they can see and touch.

“A holy...spirit” (v. 5): in the Old Testament sense, the Spirit of God. This Spirit
is the teacher of the soul; that is why it is “ashamed at the approach of unrigh-
teousness”: evildoers will curse the Spirit for teaching the righteous how to
please God (cf. 2:12-20).

1:6-11. Wisdom is a divine attribute (cf. Job 28:23-24) which God communicates
to man (cf. Prov 8:22-31)—to all mankind, although the underlying conviction is
that it is given in a special way to the people of Israel (cf. Sir 24:3-47; Bar 3:9-
38). In verses 6-7 Wisdom is identified with the Spirit of God, insofar as it is an
expression of the creative and life-giving power of God. The text says that the
Spirit holds all things together and is present everywhere in the universe and
knows everything — even the hidden thoughts of man (cf. 1 Cor 2:10-11): in this
sense Wisdom and the Spirit are the same thing. This is a subject that will be
developed in 7:22-28. This notion of Wisdom, taking on the features of a person,
prepares the way for the fullness of revelation in the New Testament, when the
Divine Word will reveal himself as the Son, that is, as the Word and the media-
tor of the knowledge of God (cf. Jn 1:1; Col 1:15; Heb 1:1-3).

In v. 6 Wisdom is defined as being “kindly” (towards men). This has not been
said before in the Old Testament, but it is consistent with what Genesis (1:31)
says about God seeing that everything he made was “very good” and with what
God says in Isaiah about his maternal love for Israel (Ct. Is 49: Is). Now it is
said with reference not only to the chosen people but to all mankind, and there-
fore it is an announcement of God’s plan of salvation (cf. Rom 5:8-11; 1 Tim 2:
4). These words (v.6) allow us to foresee, to glimpse, that God’s love for man-
kind will reveal itself fully in the Incarnation of the Son of God (cf. Titus 3:4).

Those who will be punished are depicted as complainers, slanderers and liars,
The ungodly are deceiving themselves because they have a mistaken idea of
God and his providence: they think that he does not interest himself in the do-
ings of mankind and that he lets evil happen; therefore, they do not obey him or
respect him. Deep down, every sin against God can be traced back to deceit,
just as true faith is grounded on truth. Psalm 58:3 said as much: those who
stray from God “err from birth, speaking lies’, in the New Testament, Jesus, who
declares himself to be Truth, accuses those who do not believe in him of being
liars and calls the devil a liar (cf. Jn 8:42-44); and St John calls a liar him who
denies Jesus (cf. 1 Jn 2:21-23).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 11/10/2013 8:38:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 17:1-6

On Leading Others Astray, Fraternal Correction


[1] And He (Jesus) said to His disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come;
but woe to him by whom they come! [2] It would be better for him if a millstone
were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should
cause one of these little ones to sin. [3] Take heed yourselves; if your brother
sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; [4] and if he sins against you
seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you
must forgive him.”

The Power of Faith


[5] The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith! [6] And the Lord said, “If
you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree,
‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-3. Our Lord condemns scandal, that is, “any saying, action or omission which
constitute for another an occasion of sin” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 417). Jesus
is teaching two things here: the first is that scandal will “in fact” happen; the se-
cond, that it is a grave sin, as shown by the punishment it earns.

The reason why it is so serious a sin is that it “tends to destroy God’s greatest
work, that of Redemption, through souls being lost; it kills one’s neighbor’s soul
by taking away the life of grace, which is more precious than the life of the body,
and it is the cause of a multitude of sins. This is why God threatens with the
most severe punishment those who cause others to stumble” (”ibid”., 418). See
[the notes on] Matthew 18:6-7; 18-8; 18:10.

“Take heed to yourselves”: a serious warning, meaning that we should not be a
cause of scandal to others nor should we be influenced by the bad example
others give us.

People who enjoy authority of any kind (parents, teachers, politicians, writers, ar-
tists, etc.) can more easily be a cause of scandal. We need to be on the alert in
this respect in view of our Lord’s warning, “Take heed to yourselves.”

2. Millstones were circular in shape with a large hole in the center. Our Lord’s de-
scription, therefore, was very graphic: it meant that the person’s head just fitted
through the hole and then he could not get the stone off.

3-4. In order to be a Christian one must always, genuinely, forgive others. Also,
one has to correct an erring brother to help him change his behavior. But fraternal
correction should always be done in a very refined way, full of charity; otherwise
we would humiliate the person who has committed the fault, whereas we should
not humiliate him but help him to be better.

Forgiving offenses — which is something we should always do — should not be
confused with giving up rights which have been justly violated. One can claim
rights without any kind of hatred being implied; and sometimes charity and jus-
tice require us to exercise our rights. “Let’s not confuse the rights of the office
you hold with your rights as a person. The former can never be waived” (St. J.
Escriva, “The Way”, 407).

Sincere forgiveness leads us to forget the particular offense and to extend the
hand of friendship, which in turn helps the offender to repent.

The Christian vocation is a calling to holiness, but one of its essential require-
ments is that we show apostolic concern for the spiritual welfare of others: Chris-
tianity cannot be practiced in an isolated, selfish way. Thus, “if any one among
you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that
whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from
death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).

5. “Increase our faith!”: a good ejaculatory prayer for every Christian. “Omnia pos-
sibilia sunt credenti”. “Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.” The words
are Christ’s. How is it that you don’t say to Him with the Apostles: ‘”adauge nobis
fidem!” “increase my faith!’ (”The Way”, 588).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 11/10/2013 8:43:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

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