Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Proverbs 29, 1-27

Whoever is stiff-necked under reproof will be suddenly and irremediably broken.

When the upright are on the increase, the people rejoice; when the wicked are in power, the people groan.

The lover of Wisdom makes his father glad, but the patron of prostitutes fritters his wealth away.

A king gives a country stability by justice, an extortioner brings it to ruin.

Whoever flatters his companion spreads a net for his feet.

In the sin of the wicked lies a snare, but the upright exults and rejoices.

The upright understands the cause of the weak, the wicked has not the wit to understand it.

Scoffers set a city in ferment, but the wise moderate anger.

Let someone wise argue with a fool, anger and good humour alike will be wasted.

The bloodthirsty hate the honest, but the upright seek them out.

The fool blurts out every angry feeling, but the wise subdues and restrains them.

When a ruler listens to false reports, all his ministers will be scoundrels.

Poor and oppressor are found together, Yahweh gives light to the eyes of both.

The king who judges the weak with equity sees his throne set firm for ever.

The stick and the reprimand bestow wisdom, a young man left to himself brings shame on his mother.

When the wicked are on the increase, sin multiplies, but the upright will witness their downfall.

Correct your child, and he will give you peace of mind; he will delight your soul.

Where there is no vision the people get out of hand; happy are they who keep the law.

Not by words is a slave corrected: even if he understands, he will take no notice.

You see someone too ready of speech? There is more to be hoped for from a fool!

If a slave is pampered from childhood, he will prove ungrateful in the end.

The hot-head provokes disputes, someone in a rage commits all sorts of sins.

Pride brings humiliation, whoever humbles himself will win honour.

To hear the curse and disclose nothing is to share with the thief and to hate oneself.

To be afraid of human beings is a snare, whoever trusts in Yahweh is secure.

Many people seek a ruler's favour, but the rights of each come from Yahweh.

Abhorrent to the upright is the sinful, abhorrent to the wicked is one whose way is straight.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The first group of proverbs in this chapter, found in verses 2, 4, 8, 12, 26, addresses those in authority and politicians, and open with affirmations that will appear later: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan." And in verse 16: "When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases; but the righteous will look upon their downfall." The Word of God enters history and is concerned lest the affairs of men and women be not dominated by evil. Justice appears to be an essential value since it regulates our relationships with others. It brings forth joy and prosperity and makes a stable kingdom: "If a king judges the poor with equity his throne will be established for ever." This proverb should resonate as a warning in a society where the poor are disdained and treated with scorn and discrimination. Injustice against them always leads to ruin. A second group of proverbs, connected with the first, again addresses the opposition between the wicked and the just (verses 7,10,11,22, 23, 25, 27). As in other parts of the book, just, wise and humble are words that express the way of life of the person who entrusts his or her life to the Lord and listens to his word and not to himself: "The fear of man lays a snare, but one who trusts in the LORD is secure" (25). Justice, wisdom and humility indeed render a life beautiful and joyful: "A person’s pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour" (v. 23). How can we not remember the Gospel: "Those who humble themselves will be exalted, but those who exalt themselves will be humiliated." "The righteous know the rights of the poor" (v.7); they take care of them whereas the wicked focus on their own interests. A final group of proverbs addresses the value of wisdom, with particular emphasis on correction. One that concerns the youth and education is particularly profound: "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by a neglected child" (v. 15). Many times, correction is done away with in the upbringing of the little ones and the youth, almost as if it were an outdated approach that strips away individual liberty. This, however, is a consequence of the inability to listen to and talk to others, as though we are self-sufficient people who do not need help in understanding and making decisions. The refusal of correction is unfortunately a consequence of individualistic living; it results in incapacity to dialogue and in pride that impedes us from accepting help from others.