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Home » Daily Readings, Old Testament, Proverbs

To live dependent on God

Submitted by on Wednesday, 24 September 2008No Comment
  • Reading IProverbs 30:5-9
  • Resp. Psalm:  Psalm 119:29,163
  • Gospel Reading:  Luke 9:1-16

The theme of the day’s readings hang on the following words from Luke

Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.

For the disciples, only the proclamation of the kingdom should matter; they are not to worry about the normal travelling amenities — not even to worry about food nor money nor extra clothing — since they will be going about depending upon the goodness of the people they will be meeting.  By putting this selection from Luke and the one from Proverbs, alongside each other, the Church would like us to consider the life of the twelve in mission as our lifestyle.  The prayer from Proverbs actually sums up the characteristics of this lifestyle of dependence on God and the goodness of people:

Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.

Dependence on God is the flipside of "detachment from things".  Both are sides of the coin called "spiritual poverty".  To be "poor in spirit" is characteristic of those who will inherit the kingdom of heaven.  It is noteworthy that in the prayer from Proverbs (30:7-9) the wise man prays only for that which is sufficient, in accord with the idea behind the Hebrew concept of tam  (an idea that accords well with the Filipino, "tamang-tama").  It is also echoed in the prayer which says "Give us this day our daily bread."  To be detached from things may perhaps sound Stoic; but first century Christians especially in the area where Luke wrote his gospel, could have understood Jesus’ call to detachment in the light of Stoicism.  To be "stoic" is to be "at-home", not desiring more nor less.  The idea is similar to what Paul writes to the Philippians:

I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.  I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.  I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Proverbs 30:5-9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
5Every word of God is fire tried: he is a buckler to them that hope in him.
6Add not any thing to his words, lest thou be reproved, and found a liar:
7Two things I have asked of thee, deny them not to me before I die.
8Remove far from me vanity, and lying words. Give me neither beggary, nor riches: give me only the necessaries of life:
9Lest perhaps being filled, I should be tempted to deny, and say: Who is the Lord? or being compelled by poverty, I should steal, and forswear the name of my God.
Psalm 119:29,163
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
29Remove from me the way of iniquity: and out of thy law have mercy on me.
163I have hated and abhorred iniquity; but I have loved thy law.
Luke 9:1-16
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
3And he said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats.
4And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence.
5And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them.
6And going out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
7Now Herod, the tetrarch, heard of all things that were done by him; and he was in a doubt, because it was said
8By some, that John was risen from the dead: but by other some, that Elias had appeared; and by others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
9And Herod said: John I have beheaded; but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he sought to see him.
10And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all they had done. And taking them, he went aside into a desert place, apart, which belongeth to Bethsaida.
11Which when the people knew, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them who had need of healing.
12Now the day began to decline. And the twelve came and said to him: Send away the multitude, that going into the towns and villages round about, they may lodge and get victuals; for we are here in a desert place.
13But he said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said: We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless perhaps we should go and buy food for all this multitude.
14Now there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples: Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
15And they did so; and made them all sit down.
16And taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed them; and he broke, and distributed to his disciples, to set before the multitude.
Philippians 4:11-13
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
11I speak not as it were for want. For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content therewith.
12I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound: (everywhere, and in all things I am instructed) both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need.
13I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me.

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