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Home » Daily Readings, Old Testament, Wisdom

The Lord is my Secure Foundation

Submitted by on Thursday, 25 September 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
  • Resp. Psalm:  Psalm 90:3-4,14.17
  • Gospel Reading:  Luke 9:7-9

The selection from Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth) is a classic on the meaninglessness of existence.  The author draws a very negative picture of the realm of human existence and draws the reader’s attention to one saving element:  God.  Perhaps Qoheleth’s worldview is a contributing factor to the later world-view that puts human existence under the realm of darkness and God in the realm of light (Qumran, Gospel of John).

The first reading — at first blush — seem not to have anything to do with the selection from Luke which has Herod intrigued by the rising figure of Jesus.  In the Gospel of Luke, the interest of Herod is contrasted with the interest of those who, like Zacchaeus (cf. Luke 19:2-10), also actively seek him out and end up welcoming him into their homes, and into their lives.  But there is some connection with the first reading in that both Qoheleth and Herod are kings1 

So we have here two kings, one who is sharing his discovery of the meaninglessness of existence if it is without God2 and another one, intrigued and interested in Jesus, Immanu El, "God-with-us".

Finally, the psalm (Psalm 90) is a prayer that rises forth from a heart that has known the insecurity, anxiety and burden of human existence.  It is a prayer declaring God as a refuge for every generation, the only secure foundation in an existence that, like the waves of the sea, goes to and fro and threatens to engulf one in death.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
2Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.
3What hath a man more of all his labour, that he taketh under the sun?
4One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth standeth for ever.
5The sun riseth, and goeth down, and returneth to his place: and there rising again,
6Maketh his round by the south, and turneth again to the north: the spirit goeth forward surveying all places round about, and returneth to his circuits.
7All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea doth not overflow: unto the place from whence the rivers come, they return, to flow again.
8All things are hard: man cannot explain them by word. The eye is not filled with seeing, neither is the ear filled with hearing.
9What is it that hath been? the same thing that shall be. What is it that hath been done? the same that shall be done.
10Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us.
11There is no remembrance of former things: nor indeed of those things which hereafter are to come, shall there be any remembrance with them that shall be in the latter end.
Psalm 90:3-4,14
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
3Turn not man away to be brought low: and thou hast said: Be converted, O ye sons of men.
4For a thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday, which is past. And as a watch in the night,
14We are filled in the morning with thy mercy: and we have rejoiced, and are delighted all our days.
Luke 9:7-9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
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.
Luke 19:2-10
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
2And behold, there was a man named Zacheus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich.
3And he sought to see Jesus who he was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature.
4And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, that he might see him; for he was to pass that way.
5And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up, he saw him, and said to him: Zacheus, make haste and come down; for this day I must abide in thy house.
6And he made haste and came down; and received him with joy.
7And when all saw it, they murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner.
8But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold.
9Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.
10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

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  1. Herod may be a puppet king of Rome and therefore cannot be compared to Qoheleth who — in the author’s mind — is the voice of King Solomon.  Still, the identification of both as kings lend some consistency to the readings for the day. []
  2. For apart from him, who can eat and have enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 2:4 and similar ideas throughout the body of the book. []

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