Old Testament: Proverbs (1:20-33)
Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Wisdom literature — most popular in late Old Testament period.
- Sayings for living happy and full life but personified.
- Probably post-exile period. (537-538 BCE).
- First speech given by Wisdom – personified female.
The Response: Wisdom (7:26-8:1)
Wisdom is a reflection of eternal light, *
a flawless mirror of God’s activity,
an image of divine goodness.
Though wisdom is only one, *
she can accomplish everything;
remaining self-contained, *
she transforms all around her.
In every generation *
Wisdom enlightens holy souls,
making them friends of God, *
making them prophets.
For God loves nothing so much *
as the person who lives with Wisdom.
She is more radiant than the sun, *
and outshines every constellation.
She excels daylight by far, for day is eclipsed by night; *
but evil does not overshadow Wisdom.
She spans the earth from pole to pole *
and orders all things well.
- Keeps with image of Wisdom.
- Also seen in Psalms and Proverbs.
- Part of the Apocrypha
The Epistle: James (3:1-12 )
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
- Guard your speech — watch what you say!
- The tongue only serves to amplify what you say.
The Gospel: Mark (8:27-38)
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
- Central passage of Mark.
- Mystery story — Who is Jesus of Nazareth?
- This chapter is the first where he is identified.
- The second half of his Gospel asks — What kind of Messiah is he? What does this imply for his followers?
- Jesus told his disciples to be quiet and then turns around and tells the crowd.
- Three days can mean an indeterminate time.
- Students always walked behind their teacher.
- There is a parallel to God calling Moses into the wilderness.