Snacking on the Word: Sirach 21:1-6

I’ve thought this opening for Sirach 21 would make a thoughtful reading for reconciliation. I’ve pitched it to the pastor for this year’s liturgies. (We have two.) I’ve suggested we match it to Luke 3:2-3, 7-8, picking up a bit of Luke’s gospel that doesn’t appear during Advent. The music will be Psalm 80 for entrance and “On Jordan’s Bank” at the end. Is that gospel passage too strongly worded, do you think? Would you keep or omit verse 9?

The NJB version of Sirach 21:1-6 reads:

My child, have you sinned? Do so no more, and ask forgiveness for your previous faults.
Flee from sin as from a snake, if you approach it, it will bite you; its teeth are lion’s teeth, they take human life away.
All law-breaking is like a two-edged sword, the wounds it inflicts are beyond cure.
Terror and violence make havoc of riches, similarly, desolation overtakes the houses of the proud.
A plea from the mouth of the poor goes straight to the ear of God, whose judgement comes without delay.
Whoever resents reproof walks in the sinner’s footsteps; whoever fears the Lord is repentant of heart.

Snakes and lions. For the ancients, these were real worries. Especially for those who went off wandering in the wilds. Verse 4 might strike more fear into modern folks. What the NJB translates as “terror and violence” is rendered “violence and arrogance” in the RNAB. Even so, many of us are rightly fearful about having our homes “overtaken” or in the RNAB, “destroyed.”

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Parish Life, Rite of Penance, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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