Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
At the time Sirach was being written, there was a crisis within Judaism. Israelites were in contact with Greek culture and learning, and were greatly attracted to it, even to the point of forsaking Judaism and the covenant with God. Sirach, like other Wisdom writings in the Old Testament, labors to show how wisdom can also be found within Judaism, and is fully compatible with it. How they do this is not simply some abstract treatise on wisdom but, like we see in today’s reading, wisdom is portrayed as a person.
Lady Wisdom is not a set of rules, but someone to fall in love with. Sirach speaks of how his “heart delighted in her.” Wisdom and holiness are not simply a matter of doing our universal and abstract duty. It is a matter of a relationship. In this relationship with Lady Wisdom, we are able to grow and flourish. She can “give great instruction,” but only in that relationship of love and trust. Intellectual assent is important, but never enough. God does not simply want our minds. He wants our whole selves, with nothing held back. Nothing less than a total falling in love will suffice.