The 1st reading from Proverbs in today’s Mass helps me continue the reflections I made yesterday on the use of the worldly goods the Lord has entrusted to me, and how I should use them for his greater glory, for my own salvation and the good of others.
The style of the reading reminds me of what a teacher might say to a student – me – who desires to grow in virtue.
The teacher begins by pleading that I cultivate generosity and simplicity towards my neighbor. Who is my neighbor? Jesus answered that question in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Now, how does that answer fit in with generosity, simplicity for me today? It means I should not offend anyone, nor should I quarrel or gossip, but should affirm and encourage all whom I meet. “Oh God, I know all of that!” I say.
“But I also know myself. I know I could never do all of that”. So the teacher says: “Of course you can’t, and everyone who knows you knows you can’t, and will certainly agree with me. But remember, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’”(Jas.4:6).