Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 35:1-12; Mark 10:28-31)
Fr. Rick Matty was rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso at his untimely death last year. He did everything well. People loved the stories he told when preaching. He also touched his parishioners with pastoral solicitude. The poor as well as the rich were edified by his words of consolation and hope. Those who saw his office were impressed by its meticulous order. It seemed that there was not a pen on his desk out of place. Today’s first reading from Sirach transmits a similar sense of right order.
Sirach or, more correctly, Ben Sira names the Jewish author of the work. He finds in “the law” or first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures the fulfillment of a good life. Thus, a good man or woman observes the precepts, gives to the poor, refrains from doing evil, offers due sacrifices, etc. The author does not doubt a bit the outcome of such practices: “…the Lord gives back to (the just person) sevenfold.”
We do not have to be meticulous in everything to be virtuous, but we must abide by just laws and even go beyond their strict compliance with generosity toward those in need. We too look toward a reward many times greater than the sacrifices we make. In the gospel passage Jesus tells us that our hope will be realized not only in the current order of things but in God’s coming kingdom.