Category Archives: Sirach

Lectionary Readings for October 23, 2022

Dear God, I was attending the Catholic church this morning and some of the verses really struck me. As a Protestant, I have not been exposed to the Apocrypha much, but I’m really coming to appreciate it’s role in the Christian faith.

Old Testament Reading

I mention that because the Old Testament reading this morning was from Sirach 35. Verses 14-16 caught my ear this morning:

1Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it;
15     and do not rely on a dishonest sacrifice;
for the Lord is the judge,
    and with him there is no partiality.
16 He will not show partiality to the poor;
    but he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.

I’m not sure which translation the church uses in its missal, but the way the missal translated the part about the poor was, “The LORD is God of justice, who knows no favorites. Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.” I like that you love the poor and you will listen to the prayer of the weak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will show partiality. There is fairness. There is justice. Just because I happen to be poor does not give me license to steal or abuse others. At the same time, you are there to love and comfort them. You are there to help provide through your own means and through your church. Help us to know what that means and looks like.


Ironically, the Psalm was parts of Psalm 34. The repeated refrain was “The LORD hears the cry of the poor.” The last verses used in the psalm say, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. The LORD redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.” I know some people whose spirits have been crushed. You know who is on my heart right now. Hear their cry. Hear my cry for them. Holy Spirit, give them comfort. Show those of us who know them how to love them. Let your light shine on them through us. And help us to be their defenders on your behalf.

New Testament Reading

The reading is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. I don’t know why they selectively chose just verse 6-8 and 16-18, but the words in 16-18 struck me:

16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

There are some people I know right now who are worthy of defending. I’ve prayed a lot about them over the last few days. Raise up defenders in your church for them. Love them. Encourage them. Use their persecution to draw them closer to yourself. Use it to draw all of us closer to you.

Gospel Reading

Finally, there is the one I was wanting to get to. In Luke 18:9-14, Luke prefaced Jesus’s parable about the two men who went to the temple to pray by saying, “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.” Man, do those words ring true right now in our current society. People are claiming the high ground and righteousness in your name and using that as justification to abuse others, discount others, and, frankly, bully others.

Holy Spirit, show me the areas in my life where I am that arrogant person who needs to repent and not despise. Help me to be part of offering your comfort to the oppressed. Help me to be part of your solution in working with the disenfranchised and suffering. I have prayed a lot this morning for particular people. Hear my prayer, Oh, God!

I pray this through Jesus my Lord,


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Posted by on October 23, 2022 in 2 Timothy, Luke, Psalms, Sirach


Sirach 44:1,9-13

Now will I praise those godly men, our ancestors, each in his own time. But of others there is no memory, for when they ceased, they ceased. And they are as though they had not lived, they and their children after them. Yet these also were godly men whose virtues have not been forgotten. Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants. Through God’s covenant with them their family endures, their posterity, for their sake. And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out.

Sirach 44:1,9-13

Dear God, I don’t normally look at the apocrypha, and I am not familiar with it at all. But I looked at the Old Testament reading for the Catholic church today, and this seems to fit with my current situation. Key words from this passage: ancestors, children, virtues, heritage, descendants, posterity, endure, glory. It’s what we all hope for, I suppose. At least a lot of us do. I certainly feel the weight of passing on things to my children and grandchildren that were passed on to me. I want there to be integrity and honesty. Humility and a strong work ethic. A willingness to sacrifice for what is right. A reputation of honor.

Sometimes it can be hard to know how to live up to these ideals myself, much less pass them on to my children. How do I ask them to be something I am not? And then when it is time to try to mold them through the responsibility you have given to me, how do I do it in mercy and love, while still not sacrificing the lesson you might have for them in the moment? If there is a fork in the road with my children or grandchildren, what lesson do you have for them in that situation, and how do I not get in your way and short circuit what you might be trying to accomplish in their life.

Father, when I am in the middle of the battle–when I am in the fog of war–help me to see you clearly. Help me to be wise enough to know how you need me to respond and when you need me to remain silent. When to act and when to not act. When to accept the things I cannot change, when I need to summon the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on May 28, 2021 in Sirach