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Sunday, 4 January 2015

We Are Not Equal, Part Two

The Old Testament reading for today's Mass is from the 24th Chapter of Ecclesiasticus. The entire chapter is here below repeated in order to understand the meaning of this selection.

Here, one sees that God called a "privileged people"  or "honorable people" as some translations read. Israel was not equal to the other nations surrounding her. God had created His Own People through Abraham.

Look at verse 3. The Douay-Rheims translations makes the connection between the People of God and the Church. In verse 4, the word "elect" indicates that there is predilection, a choice of God, a chosen group, set apart to become holy.

Wisdom personified here as a female, has been seen as Christ Himself, the "firstborn before all creatures" , the Incarnate One, which is one reason this passage is read today.

Sion and Jerusalem represent not only the Jews, but the Church, the New Jerusalem.

Again, the DR refers to the Chosen People as the "saints", those called by God to become holy, and given the grace to do so.

Verse 25 employs the word "grace".  But, notice, Wisdom calls all to Himself, that is Christ calls all, but only those who desire Him receive the Spirit. Again, the mystery of grace indicates that "many are called, but few are chosen".

Over and over again in the Scriptures, we are reminded of God's choice, His Will regarding the elect. the Jews, the Chosen People, turned against the Messiah, Christ, Wisdom, and He created His Church from those who did follow Him, and the Gentiles.

But, not all are equal. Those who do not follow Christ, who do not embrace Wisdom, do not become part of the honorable people. Here is Chapter 24.

Wisdom praiseth herself: her origin, her dwelling, her dignity, and her fruits.
[1] Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people, [2] And shall open her mouth in the churches of the most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power, [3] And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly. [4] And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed, saying: [5] I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures:
[6] I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the earth: [7] I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud. [8] I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and have walked in the waves of the sea, [9] And have stood in all the earth: and in every people, [10]And in every nation I have had the chief rule:
[11] And by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. [12] Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle, [13] And he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect.[14] From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him. [15] And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem.
[16] And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints. [17] I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress tree on mount Sion. [18] I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades, and as a rose plant in Jericho: [19] As a fair olive tree in the plains, and as a plane tree by the water in the streets, was I exalted. [20] I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon. and aromatical balm: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh:
[21] And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odour is as the purest balm. [22] I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine tree, and my branches are of honour and grace. [23] As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. [24] I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. [25] In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
[26] Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. [27] For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. [28] My memory is unto everlasting generations. [29] They that eat me, shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. [30] He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.