This week we conclude our study of Jesus’ second instruction on Christology and discipleship. Last week we heard His teaching on marriage and divorce, and also of His blessing of the children. We now hear Jesus’ teaching about riches. This teaching consists of three units on wealth and the kingdom:
1) The story of the rich man.
2) Jesus’ instruction to His disciples.
3) His teaching about rewards for giving up riches.
We will hear all three.
The Book of Wisdom, written in the 1st century B.C. is known to us only in the Greek. It is generally held certain that Greek was the original language. For this reason it is not contained in the Hebrew Bible; nor is it in the Protestant Bible, having been discarded by Martin Luther around A.D. 1520. Because it is known that Jesus and the apostles used the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Old Testament, Wisdom has always been considered canonical by the Catholic Church. In fact, the Muratorian Fragment (A.D. 155-200), the earliest known list of writings approved as Scripture for use in the Church at Rome, and which gives a fairly orderly treatment to the titles contained in the New Testament, includes Wisdom as a New Testament book.
The book is divided into 3 parts:
1) Wisdom & Human Destiny (chapters 1-5),
2) Solomon & The Quest For Wisdom (chapters 6-9), and
3) Wisdom At Work In History (chapters 10-19).
Today’s reading comes from the second part and describes Solomon’s (or at least the author’s who borrowed his name) praying and the riches that came to him.
Last week we started our study of the Book of Hebrews, as did our Episcopal and Lutheran brothers and sisters; they however, heard more verses (we had 3, the Episcopalians 10 with an optional 8 more, the Lutherans our 3 with an optional 7 more). This week we study Chapter 4, verses 12 & 13 while the Episcopalians and Lutherans study Chapter 3, verses 1 through 6 which discuss how Jesus, the faithful son, was superior to Moses. Not to worry though, next week they will get our reading for this week in addition to our reading for next week and we’ll all be caught up again.
Our reading today is about God’s warnings based on Israel’s infidelity and tells us to persevere for the word of God judges rightly. Since nothing is unknown to it; it is light, those of the present generation will be judged worthy or unfit to enter God’s rest. This is the particular judgment.