FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION: WEEK SEVEN
The Seventh Week of Ordinary Time: The book of Sirach. also called Ecclesiasticus, invites us to reflect on creation, life and relationship to God.
Invitation: To grow in desire for wisdom and commit ourselves to discipleship.
Ask yourself in prayer and others in discussion, for each statement below: “Do you see this in the Scripture reading? What response does it invite?
Sirach 1:1-10: We need to seek wisdom where it can be found; in God’s word.
- The first step into discipleship is to declare yourself a learner through some visible form of concrete commitment.
- Knowing I am committed to grow as a disciple is a mystical experience.
- We don’t realize we are committed until we don’t feel like doing it any more.
Sirach 4:11-19: Those who want wisdom “love life,” because they want to grow.
- We win God’s favor” just by desiring to grow in wisdom.
- Desire must pass into action. Perseverance is the true measure of desire.
- Wisdom is “appreciation for spiritual things,” and the “habit of relating everything to our last end.”
Sirach 5:1-10: What makes meditation on Scripture “work” is a practical focus. If you don’t get any great thoughts, just ask, “How can I respond, what can I do?
- Meditation requires us to make decisions with confidence, but depends on recognized powerlessness.
- If we don’t invest time in prayer, the rest of our time will be wasted.
Sirach 6:5-17: When we choose our friends, we are in fact choosing our way of life. Our choices are all influenced by the communal choices of our culture.
- Like attracts like. If we live by our ideals we will bond with people who support them. This leads to “communion in the Holy Spirit.”
Sirach 17:1-15: The basic truths are often the ones we seldom look at.
- We know we are like God because we can recognize intention in the structure of things, follow the Creator’s thought process and admire and praise him for it. Animals and atheists can’t do this.
- “Fear of the Lord” is fear minus fright; that is, perspective.
- To appreciate a principle, we have to live by what follows from it. A disordered life blocks truth. Obedience to God frees the mind from enslavement to error.
- Ask deeply and honestly, “Who is God for me?”
- Do I truly want “wisdom”? Enough to become a committed disciple?
- Is my lifestyle different from that of my friends? Why is that?
- How has “fear of the Lord” freed me to see and appreciate truth?