Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 30,5-9

Every word of God is unalloyed, a shield to those who take refuge in him. To his words make no addition, lest he reprove you and account you a liar. Two things I beg of you, do not grudge me them before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of food, for fear that, surrounded by plenty, I should fall away and say, 'Yahweh-who is Yahweh?' or else, in destitution, take to stealing and profane the name of my God.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter 30 of Proverbs contains a collection of sayings attributed to Agur. The text reports teachings that came up in various periods of Israel's history and they are offered as meditation for the reader. The first part of the chapter pauses on two aspects of the search for wisdom. First of all the author emphasizes struggle of searching for wisdom: "I am tired," the seeker repeats many times. In reality we are all small before the greatness of God and the difficulty of getting his wisdom. We are never intelligent enough to understand God's will: "Surely I am too stupid to be human; I do not have human understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the holy ones." Who then can know it? "Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words." We are used to adding our own stuff to the Word of God. We even bend it to our own ideas, our own plans and projects, and in so doing take away its transformational power. Above all, the invitation is to listen to the word of God. This stops us from falling into the "falsity" and "lies." From listening flows also the wisdom to follow the ways of the Lord. The Word of God helps us also use human words with more wisdom. And this is the meaning of the invitation not to "slander." The same goes for the suggestions in the last verses which demonstrate the consequences for whoever does not welcome the Word of God. There are people who curse instead of blessing. The relevance of these words today is surprising. We live in an era of aggressive language, where violence is generated from words against the poor: words of hate, condemnation, aimed at getting rid of them. But the Lord is their caretaker and their defender and we, together with him, take on their suffering, so that they receive justice.