Vol: 45, No.51 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) September 23 2018  
The Book of Wisdom was written by a Jew living in Alexandria, around 50 B.C. The book deals with wisdom and its working in sacred history. The last century before Christ was a time of turmoil for Jews who lived in Palestine. Early in that century a bitter civil war pitted Pharisees in Judea against the Hellenizing high priest, Alexander Janneus, and his Sadducee allies. Alexander won the war; subsequently, he and his successors attempted to mingle Hebrew traditions with Greek philosophies and ideals. At this time the Jews in Egypt probably outnumbered those in Palestine. In a cosmopolitan city like Alexandria, they were confronted with all kinds of pagan religions. They were tempted to abandon old ways for modern ideas flowing from the Greek culture that seemed to be taking over the world, even their beloved Jerusalem.
In this situation, an unknown Jew acquainted with Greek culture and fluent in the Greek language was inspired by God to write the Book of Wisdom. He wanted to show the Jewish people that true wisdom is found in God’s revelation, not in pagan religions or pagan philosophies. The Book of Wisdom is not directly quoted by New Testament authors, but it clearly influenced their thinking.
The book of Wisdom is meant to bring about the conversion of these impious men. The godless say that the just are reproaching them for sins against the law. From this we can deduce that the just consider the godless to be those who transgress the Torah. The godless are
thus Jews who do not remain faithful to the Torah. These godless are the Jews who have exchanged the Torah for the new gentile concepts that were so popular in Hellenistic Alexandria.
In the gospel of today, Jesus turns his attention to the circle of his disciples, and he presents to them the terrible sufferings that await him in Jerusalem (Mk 9:31). The disciples not only fail to understand the Passion prediction but even fear to pursue the topic. Then they show the depth of their misunderstanding by arguing about who is the greatest among them. The disciples’ misunderstanding provides the occasion for Jesus to define true greatness as the humble service of others.
But why should Jesus take a child as an example? It is certainly true that Jesus had a remarkable, indeed almost unprecedented, regard for children. His words could thus be a warning for his disciples that they too must do the same. In the first-century Palestinian society a child would symbolize not so much innocence or simplicity as lack of social status and legal rights. A child was a “non-person” totally dependent on others for nurture and protection, and of course one could not expect to gain anything either socially or materially from kindness to a child. By placing the child in the midst of his circle of disciples Jesus is clearly using this symbolic action as a way of instructing his disciples. By embracing the child Jesus displays his acceptance of the child (who is a social non-entity) as worthy of respect and care.
– AK
September 2018 Readings (25th Week in O T)) Psalter Week 1
24 Mon (G) Prov 3:27-34/ Ps 15:2-5/ Lk 8:16-18
25 Tue (G) Prov 21:1-6, 10-13/ Ps 119:1, 27, 30, 34-35, 44/ Lk 8:19-21
26 Wed (G) Sts Cosmas & Damian, Prov 30:5-9/ Ps 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163/ Lk 9:1-6
27 Thu (W) St Vincent de Paul, Eccl 1:2-11/ Ps 90:3-6, 12-14, 17/ Lk 9:7-9
28 Fri (G) St Wenceslaus & Lawrence Ruiz, Eccl 3:1-11/ Ps 144:1-4/ Lk 9:18-22
29 Sat (W) Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels, Feast,
Dan 7:9-10, 13-14 or Rev 12:7-12/ Ps 138:1-5/ Jn 1:47-51
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