Thursday of week 8 of Ordinary Time


Commentary on the FIRST READING Sirach 42:15-25

 In a majestic passage Sirach speaks of the glory of God manifested in the beauty and marvels of his creation.  It is the product of God’s word, his creative, life-giving word.  Creation becomes an expression of God’s very being, reflecting his truth, his goodness, and beauty and God has total insight into all that takes place in his creation.  “Not a thought escapes him, not a single word is hidden from him.”

The author begins by expressing his intention to speak of “the works of the Lord”.

Everything that exists has come into being by the “word of the Lord” and every creatures is subject to his will.  This is one of the first mentions of the creative “Word” of God.  In Wisdom literature generally, it is Wisdom that is spoken of as creative.

The sun fills the whole world with its light, reflecting in a small way the glory of God which permeates the whole of creation.  Not even “his holy ones” can adequately express all that God accomplishes throughout the universe, which remains a constant and pale reflection of his glory.  The “holy ones” here are the angels, who live always in the presence of God.

At the same time, our all-knowing, all-creating God can penetrate the innermost recesses of the human heart, however devious it may be. 

“He knows all the knowledge there is, and has observed the signs of the times.”  The heavenly bodies are the ‘signs of the times’, not only because they mark the seasons but also because, according to a widespread belief, the future was already written in the heavens.  There may also be a more specific reference to the extraordinary signs expected to announce the coming of the Messiah (Matt 24:29-31).  In our own day, many still, with varying degrees of seriousness, look to the stars as an indication of what is in store for them.

So there is nothing which can be hidden from God’s knowledge.  The future, too, is known to him from all eternity.  He reveals what has been and what has yet to be.  Not a single thought escapes him, nor can anything remain hidden from him.

The fruits of his wisdom can be seen everywhere and he remains unchanging from all eternity.  There is nothing that can be given to him which he does not already have nor can anything be taken away from him.  He needs no one to give him advice on how he should act.

“How desirable are all his works and how dazzling to the eye.”  Down the ages, the beauty of our world has never ceased to mesmerise artists of all kinds – poets, painters and musicians.  This beauty is something which will endure in one form or other as long as our created world exists, while, at the same time, each created thing has been brought into being to meet a particular need determined by him.

Finally, says the author, all things come in complementary pairs to give a sense of completeness.  Each one supplements the virtues of the other.  This is true not only of humans but of practically all living things where they are  ‘male’ and ‘female’.

Given such a world, how can we ever tire of being carried away by the glory and beauty of its Maker? 

 

 

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