24Sep 24 September. Monday, Week 25

1st Reading: Proverbs (3:27-34)

Practical guidelines for dealing justly with one’s neighbour

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.

Do not plan harm against your neighbour who lives trustingly beside you.
Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you.

Do not envy the violent and do not choose any of their ways;
for the perverse are an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.

The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous.
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he shows favour.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 15)

R.: Whoever does justice shall live on the Lord’s holy mountain

Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue. (R./)

Whoever does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbour,
who holds the godless in disdain,
but honours those who fear the Lord. ( R./)
Whoever keeps his pledge, come what may;
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever. (R./)

Gospel: Luke (8:16-18)

A lamp must shine, to brighten the house. People of character will be given more

Jesus said to his disciples, “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”


Cryptic sayings

It’s not easy to unpack the cryptic, paradoxical statement that, “The one who has, will be given more; the one who has not, will lose even that little.” It is descriptive of fact rather than prescriptive, and can perhaps be paraphrased or applied in various ways. The person who has time to pray and reflect will be given more; the one who has not taken the time to turn to God and friends for advice will lose even the little wisdom that he or she possesses. The sapiential books in particular remind us that the Bible is for adult reflection throughout life.

Mature discernment is needed to properly assess our relationship with our neighbours. This is the considered in today’s short essay from Proverbs,. Each word is down-to-earth: Do not tell your neighbour to go away and come back again, when you can help them now. Do not quarrel with anyone without cause. Do not envy the lawless person. Typical of the Bible’s wisdom literature, the responses are moderate and possible to practice day by day. For these writers, the cardinal sins are extremism and radicalism. The sage even seems to permit room for a quarrel, but not without cause nor with violent people.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed.” Often Jesus does not share the moderation of the sapiential literature. Evidently we need both for the diverse needs and challenges of our life. There is a time to be quietly prodded by the sapiential style; there is another time to be shaken up by the martyrs. At times we think about our past, at other times we seek our future, enlightened by Wisdom and the Gospel.

The lamp of faith

The parable of the sower suggests the image of the seed of faith that is sown in our hearts and needs good soil to grow and flourish. Today’s gospel suggests another image for spritual life: the lamp of faith. When the lamp of faith is lit in a person’s life, it is not meant to be covered or hidden but to remain shining in a public way for all to see. ‘No one lights a lamp to put it under a bed. They put it on a lamp-stand so that others may see the light when they come in.

Jesus wants the light of our faith to shine for others to see. When the culture is not very supportive of faith, there can be a strong temptation to hide the light of our faith, to put it under a bed. Yet, we need to let the light of our faith shine all the more in an environment that is hostile to it, because in doing so we give courage to others. When I let the light of my faith shine, I make it easier for other people of faith to do the same.

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